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
Sun 22nd Mar
Wakefield Wildcats14 - 44Huddersfield Giants
Widnes Vikings20 - 16Hull K R
Thu 26th Mar
Salford Red Devils36 - 8Widnes Vikings
Fri 27th Mar
Castleford TigersLiveHull FC
Hull K RLiveSt Helens
Warrington WolvesLiveHuddersfield Giants
Wigan WarriorsLiveWakefield Wildcats
Sat 28th Mar
Catalans DragonsvsLeeds Rhinos
Thu 2nd Apr
Hull FCvsHull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Fri 3rd Apr
Castleford TigersvsLeeds Rhinos
Wigan WarriorsvsSt Helens
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Mon 6th Apr
Warrington WolvesvsCastleford Tigers
Hull K R0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Wigan Warriors
St Helens0 - 0Hull FC
Catalans DragonsvsWidnes Vikings
Fri 10th Apr
Hull FCvsWidnes Vikings
Sat 11th Apr
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Castleford TigersvsHull K R
Sun 12th Apr
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0St Helens
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Apr
Wigan WarriorsvsWarrington Wolves
Fri 17th Apr
St HelensvsLeeds Rhinos
Sun 19th Apr
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Apr
Wakefield WildcatsvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Apr
Hull FC0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Leeds RhinosvsWarrington Wolves
St Helens0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 25th Apr
Catalans DragonsvsHull K R
Sun 26th Apr
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 30th Apr
Huddersfield GiantsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 1st May
Hull FC0 - 0Salford Red Devils
St Helens0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 3rd May
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 7th May
Hull K RvsWakefield Wildcats
Fri 8th May
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Sat 9th May
Catalans DragonsvsSt Helens
Sun 10th May
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Hull FC
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Thu 21st May
Castleford TigersvsHuddersfield Giants
Fri 22nd May
Hull FC0 - 0St Helens
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Hull K R
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Sat 23rd May
Catalans DragonsvsWigan Warriors
Sun 24th May
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Widnes Vikings
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