Jonny Lomax scored 28 points in a dazzling individual display as St Helens overpowered Wakefield to claim their first Super League home win of 2013.
The 22-year-old, looking increasingly assured at full-back, claimed a hat-trick of tries and kicked a near-perfect eight goals as Saints broke the Wildcats’ resistance at Langtree Park.
The hosts ran in nine tries in total in what ultimately proved a dominant display with Jordan Turner crossing twice and Alex Walmsley, Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Tommy Makinson and Lance Hohaia also getting over. Despite trailing, Wakefield had been competitive at 28-18 midway through the second half but Lomax changed the course of the game with two tries in quick succession.
Wakefield, despite another try-scoring display from in-form winger Ben Cockayne and showing plenty of spirit, left the field dejected after a tough closing period.
The first half had been evenly contested but Saints made more of their possession and led 22-12 after outscoring the visitors four tries to two. But the hosts were breached after just two minutes as Dean Collis broke down the right and slipped the ball inside for Richie Mathers to score.
Saints looked to respond quickly and after forcing Reece Lyne to concede a drop-out, they levelled the scores. Lomax found a hole in the Wildcats defence and after the ball was moved inside Jon Wilkin sent Walmsley over for his first Super League try.
Wakefield were still regrouping from that when Lomax caught them out again with some more nimble footwork 20 metres out and this time he finished himself to send Saints into the lead.
The scores were soon level again as Kyle Wood led Wakefield downfield in reply.
Lyne found a route to the line cut off but the ball found its way back to Wood and the Wildcats scrum-half put in a well-weighted kick for Cockayne’s eighth try of the season. Paul Sykes converted for a second time.
Oliver Wilkes threatened another try but was stopped by Wilkin and Saints got back in front after a break by Hohaia.
James Roby dabbed in a grubber kick and Peter Fox made a mess of a clearance attempt to allow Turner to touch down.
Roby was instrumental again as Saints extended their lead before the break but Meli did well to take his awkward pass and shrug off a challenge to offload for Turner.
It looked like Saints would ease to victory when pressure yielded a fifth try early in the second half as Wilkin sent McCarthy-Scarsbrook over. But the visitors, who fought back to salvage a draw at Salford last week, showed their spirit.
Richard Agar’s men forced Saints onto the back foot for a prolonged spell and Fox, twice, and Collis both went close. Their endeavour was rewarded as Collis found his way through to touch down but Lomax took charge to ease Saints nerves.
Lomax linked well with Wilkin and wrong-footed Wakefield with a dummy before scampering over. His hat-trick try came just moments later as he took a pass at from Willie Manu. Makinson and Hohaia crossed late on.
St Helens: Lomax, Makinson, Turner, Jones, Meli, Hohaia, Wilkin, Laffranchi, Roby, Walmsley, Manu, Soliola, Walker. Replacements: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Flanagan, Clough, Hand.
Wakefield: Mathers, Fox, Collis, Lyne, Cockayne, Sykes, Wood, Wilkes, Aiton, Amor, Mellars, Mariano, Washbrook. Replacements: L Smith, Trout, Wildie, Annakin.
Referee: R Hicks (Oldham).