St Helens 40 Huddersfield Giants 16: Saints keep play-off hopes alive

TOUGH NIGHT: 'Huddersfield Giants' Danny Brough.
TOUGH NIGHT: 'Huddersfield Giants' Danny Brough.
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Australian star Ben Barba turned on the magic as St Helens kept their play-off dreams alive by brushing aside Huddersfield.

The Saints were a cut above, with Barba the main tormentor-in-chief as he chimed in from full-back at perfect intervals and scored one of his side’s seven tries. Jonny Lomax crossed twice, while Regan Grace, Mark Percival, Ryan Morgan and Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook also touched down.

The Giants found themselves two tries behind after only 10 minutes as Lomax touched down after four minutes, soon followed by Grace who had the simple task of running in after Barba had unlocked the Huddersfield defence.

The Giants thought they got one back shortly after as Lee Gaskell looked to ground a loose ball that Grace had failed to deal with, but the Welsh winger recovered just in time.

They did get the try they were searching for after 31 minutes as Danny Brough sent in the hard-working Oliver Roberts.

St Helens replied in stunning fashion as Grace clicked into gear with a 60-metre dash to eventually set up Lomax and then immediately after that Percival powered over to make it 24-6 at half-time.

Next it was Barba scorching over on the left-hand side after he beat three Giants defenders for footwork. Fellow Australian Morgan was next to score as Saints spread the ball wide.

The visitors did not throw in the towel and improved in the second period and deserved their two consolations. The dogged Brough kept the Giants going and he had a hand in their two second-half tries.

Ryan Hinchcliffe burst on to a short ball to force his way over before, 10 minutes later, Jordan Rankin went over in the corner.

But Saints had the final say as prop McCarthy-Scarsbrook hammered his way over for the final try of the night.

St Helens: Barba, Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Richardson, Douglas, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Knowles, Wilkin. Substitutes: Fages, Walmsley, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Peyroux.

Huddersfield Giants: Rankin, McGillvary, Mellor, Turner, McIntosh, Gaskell, Brough, Rapira, O’Brien, Ta’ai, Roberts, Lawrence, Hinchcliffe. Substitutes: Leeming, Clough, Smith, Dickinson.

Referee: G Hewer (RFL).