Super League: St Helens hit back with convincing victory at Castleford
Last Updated: 07/07/13 5:56pm
Tom Makinson's hat-trick helped St Helens prick Castleford's bubble and quell talk of a crisis at Langtree Park.
Saints had been put on a warning by angry chairman Eamonn McManus after last week's home defeat by Hull KR left them in serious danger of missing out on the Super League play-offs for the first time.
Amid sweltering temperatures, the Tigers turned the heat up on their visitors by racing into a 10-0 lead after 18 minutes and the early loss of England hooker James Roby with an ankle injury looked to have compounded their misery.
But Nathan Brown's men hit back with Makinson's first try on 22 minutes and he added two more in the second half to clinch an 11th consecutive win over Castleford and condemn them to a first home defeat for three months.
Saints captain Paul Wellens began the game on the bench but was introduced after only 17 minutes when Roby went off and within a minute watched his side fall 10-0 behind.
Winger Richard Owen had opened the scoring with a seventh-minute try, finishing off a break by forward Grant Millington, and full-back Jordan Tansey added a second shortly after the first water break.
Saints were unable to hold the ball long enough to complete their sets and it took a couple of opportunist tries to keep them in contention. Scrum-half Gareth O'Brien, starting his second spell on loan from Warrington, kicked over the Castleford defence to get Makinson over for his first try.
But when makeshift stand-off Weller Hauraki touched down Chase's kick for Castleford's third try on 25 minutes and Kirk Dixon kicked his second goal, the home side were firmly in control at 16-6.
However, full-back Jonny Lomax shrugged off a couple of heavy tackles to go through defender Jordan Thompson two minutes before the break to bring Saints back into it and they scored two more tries within 10 minutes of the re-start.
Impressive forward replacement Alex Walmsley offloaded from the tackle to create the space for Wellens to get prop Luke Thompson crashing over and then Lomax got centre Jordan Turner skipping through the Castleford defence for a fourth try.
O'Brien maintained his accuracy with his fourth goal to put Saints into a somewhat flattering 24-16 lead.
Blockbusting winger Justin Carney, back from a third suspension of his debut season, gave the Tigers renewed hope on 54 minutes when he produced a trademark finish to register his 12th try in 14 Super League appearances.
But Dixon missed his second kick to leave the home side trailing by four points and Makinson wrapped up the victory with two tries in six minutes to complete his hat-trick. First he swooped on Tansey's pass intended for Carney and sprinted 90 metres to touch down and then collected team-mate Turner's pass by his bootlaces to register his third try.
Chase grabbed a fifth try for the Tigers five minutes before the end but Walmsley crashed over for a richly-deserved try just before the end and O'Brien put the finishing touches to a precious win with his sixth goal from seven attempts.
First Utility Super League
Tue 30th Jun
Hull K R34 - 28Salford Red Devils
Wed 1st Jul
Wakefield Wildcats26 - 16Hull FC
Thu 2nd Jul
Warrington Wolves17 - 6Wigan Warriors
Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds Rhinos46 - 18St Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants32 - 14Hull K R
Hull FC31 - 24Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils18 - 14Catalans Dragons
Castleford Tigers34 - 20Widnes Vikings
Thu 9th Jul
Wigan WarriorsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 10th Jul
St HelensvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 12th Jul
Hull FC0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Hull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Jul
Warrington WolvesvsSt Helens
Fri 17th Jul
Hull K RvsHull FC
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 18th Jul
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 19th Jul
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Jul
Hull FCvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 26th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Super League 2013, round 21
Hull FC have made two changes to their squad for Sunday's clash with high-flying Huddersfield Giants at the KC Stadium.
Castleford Tigers have made two changes to their squad ahead of Sunday's Super League clash with St Helens.
Hull KR's Graeme Horne says his side will be out for revenge when they meet Salford on Sunday.