Hull FC 18 St Helens 32: Josh Griffin rush of blood ends hosts' Challenge Cup hopes

The scoreline gives the impression of a routine victory for the best club side in the world but it does not begin to tell the story of an action-packed Challenge Cup quarter-final.

There was nothing to separate Hull FC and St Helens until Josh Griffin's bizarre red card for dissent at half-time.

The 2017 cup winner was initially shown a yellow card which quickly became red as he continued to remonstrate with referee Chris Kendall.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Griffin's rush of blood left Hull down to 12 men for the second half and they eventually succumbed to the all-conquering Saints.

For a player who was seeking redemption after suffering a ruptured Achilles against the same opposition in the Challenge Cup in 2021, it was another painful experience.

Tony Smith's men more than matched the visitors in the opening 40 minutes as they shrugged off the absence of chief playmaker Jake Clifford and went into the break level at 12-12.

But they were left to consider what might have been after failing to join bitter rivals Hull KR in Sunday’s semi-final draw.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

From ferocious collisions to enterprising attacking play, the first half had a bit of everything even before Griffin was given his marching orders.

Referee Chris Kendall sends off Hull FC’s Josh Griffin. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/ Chris Kendall sends off Hull FC’s Josh Griffin. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/
Referee Chris Kendall sends off Hull FC’s Josh Griffin. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/

Hull set about fighting fire with fire against a fearsome Saints pack but suffered an early setback when Joe Batchelor ran a perfect line to crash over from Jack Welsby's pass.

Tommy Makinson knocked over the conversion and quickly added a penalty after Brad Fash was deemed guilty of foul play in a challenge that left Mark Percival concussed.

The Black and Whites set about chasing down St Helens' 8-0 lead without Scott Taylor after he suffered a dislocated shoulder but they rallied superbly to turn the game on its head.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tex Hoy – Clifford's replacement in the halves – sauntered through Saints' right-edge defence untouched to give Griffin his seventh try in five games before the second-rower's afternoon went south.

Jack Welsby celebrates with Curtis Sironen after scoring a try. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/ Welsby celebrates with Curtis Sironen after scoring a try. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/
Jack Welsby celebrates with Curtis Sironen after scoring a try. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/

Hull nudged in front after Andre Savelio pounced on a loose ball from Hoy’s cross-field kick and Liam Sutcliffe added his second goal of the afternoon.

When Makinson was forced off with a leg injury, Smith's men could have been forgiven for thinking everything was falling into place.

But Saints were level after emergency winger Konrad Hurrell finished Welsby's looping pass and had a one-man advantage following Griffin's dismissal as the players made their way off at half-time.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Batchelor bombed a certain try just after the restart but St Helens were soon celebrating when Curtis Sironen crashed over from Lewis Dodd's short ball.

The depleted Black and Whites refused to go away and threatened a breakaway try, only for Jonny Lomax to deny Sutcliffe with a crucial covering tackle.

Saints turned defence into attack to seemingly put the game out of Hull's reach, Dodd finding his way over from close range following a break by Tee Ritson.

It appeared to be a case of damage limitation for the home side when they lost Hoy to a hamstring injury but they had hope 15 minutes from time thanks to Jake Trueman's try after Ritson and Welsby collided trying to deal with Danny Houghton's steepling kick.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, Chris Satae was guilty of an ill-advised pass from the restart to give Welsby the chance to dummy his way over and seal St Helens' place in the semi-finals.

James Bell had the last word in the final two minutes to leave Saints on course for yet another trophy.

Hull FC: Litten, Swift, Sutcliffe, Tuimavave, McIntosh, Trueman, Hoy, Fash, Houghton, Taylor, Griffin, Savelio, Cator. Substitutes: Dwyer, Lane, Sao, Satae.

St Helens: Welsby, Makinson, Hurrell, Percival, Ritson, Lomax, Dodd, Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Sironen, Batchelor, Knowles. Substitutes: Mata'utia, Lussick, Paasi, Bell.

Referee: Chris Kendall.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.