Super League: St Helens maintain 100 percent start to season with 40-22 win over Catalan
Last Updated: 14/03/14 10:49pm
St Helens maintained their 100 percent start to the Super League season as the leaders overcame Catalan 40-22 on the back of an electric opening half-hour.
The home side were always in control after accruing 24 unanswered first-half points - with Tommy Makinson crossing twice - and although opposing winger Michael Oldfield would reply with a second-half brace himself, that big deficit early on proved Catalan's undoing as they failed to chalk up their first victory.
The victory means Saints have now won each of their first five fixtures but, as head coach Nathan Brown admitted in his programme notes, sterner tests await with Leeds visiting Langtree Park in two weeks' time.
Saints may have opened the 2014 season in flawless fashion but they began with an inauspicious start here when full-back Jonny Lomax misread the kick-off. The visitors were unable to turn their fortune into points, though, and soon lost the territory battle.
Zeb Taia caught Willie Manu with a high, swinging arm and Saints put the first points on the board, working the ball out left to allow Josh Jones to cross with Luke Walsh adding the extras.
Catalan owner Bernard Guasch had hauled head coach Laurent Frayssinous in for crisis talks this week following a terrible first four games and there was little evidence the message had been heeded as two errors led to a pair of Saints tries.
First, Paul Wellens, making his 500th career appearance, pounced on a loose ball which culminated in Makinson's first try and Jordan Turner soon followed him over in the right corner following Morgan Escare's inexplicable knock-on. Walsh kicked both conversions - the first with the help of the goal's frame.
Saints were simply relentless and although Adam Swift's dart yielded no reward, his brilliant fellow winger Makinson's own waltz through the middle of Catalan's defence ended with him going under the posts, Walsh staying perfect with the boot.
Dragons hit back
While remaining undefeated, St Helens had conceded 40 points in their two home wins and their 24-0 lead would be halved by the interval. The Dragons profited from an offside a couple of metres out as Super League debutant Benjamin Garcia crossed while hooker Eloi Pelissier was left with a simply try after feigning to pass from close range.
After the restart Saints looked to resume their dominance. Sia Soliola benefited when Jon Wilkin's high kick bounced into his path and James Roby's intuitive assist allowed Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook to dot down.
Walsh was a half-time injury casualty so Lomax took on the conversion duties and stretched his team's lead to 18 points.
Escare's error-strewn evening continued when he knocked on in the act of being tackled, yet Saints did not take advantage and Lomax's own muff from an up-and-under allowed Catalan to score again.
Leon Pryce, formerly of Saints' parish, used quick hands to spin the ball out to Oldfield and he had just enough room to spring over the line. Thomas Bosc converted to make it three from three for him and ensure the Dragons remained in touching distance.
Lance Hohaia made it half a dozen St Helens tries for the night after good work by Wilkin, yet Oldfield would touch down again with a magnificent one-handed effort which - after Bosc missed the extras - brought Catalan back to 36-22 and ensured a nervy final 10 minutes.
Lomax would free Swift to get his try, though, as the hosts passed the 40-point barrier for the first time this season with their full-back's missed conversion failing to make the scoreline even more handsome.
First Utility Super League
Tue 30th Jun
Hull K RvsSalford Red Devils
Wed 1st Jul
Wakefield WildcatsvsHull FC
Thu 2nd Jul
Warrington WolvesvsWigan Warriors
Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds RhinosvsSt Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Hull K R
Hull FC0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Thu 9th Jul
Wigan WarriorsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 10th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Huddersfield 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 2014, round five
Tony Rea reflects on the fine form of St Helens and Leeds and a heavy defeat for his London Broncos.
We look at who have been Super League's best and worst so far in the 2014 season.
Castleford full-back Jordan Tansey has been accused of making deliberate contact with a referee.
- Vikings sweat over Mellor
- A Saintly start
- Tigers pounce late once more
- Ruthless Giants blitz Bulls
- Attack pleases Agar
- Wildcats maul Broncos
- Koukash critical of displays
- Brown: Best win yet
- Patient Wolves please Smith
- McDermott hails two-try hero
- Rhinos rip through Vikings
- Three and easy for Wolves
- Bulls v Giants: Teams
- Tigers v Hull FC: Teams
- Broncos v Wildcats: Teams
- Wigan Warriors v Hull KR
- Morley issues rallying cry
- Saints v Dragons: Teams
- Vea to make Broncos debut
- Red Devils v Wolves: Teams
- Warriors v Hull KR: Teams
- Rhinos v Vikings: Teams
- Powell may call on Webster
- Wane makes case for defence
- Rapira to miss Wolves clash
- Brown: Saints can improve