Saints continue unbeaten run as Hull KR are put to the sword


St Helens continued their unbeaten start to Super League 2022 with a fantastic 8-42 victory over Hull Kingston Rovers.

The game started with two early mistakes from Morgan Knowles and Albert Vete as the rain poured down on Sewell Group Craven Park. The treacherous weather didn’t stop the champions for long as Sione Mata’utia crashed over from short range after three minutes to open the scoring.

To have had any chance in this game, Hull KR needed to capitalise on every error the champions made, Rovers managed to win two set restarts in quick succession but an impossible offload by Brad Takairangi ended the threat from the home side who found possession and territory scarce throughout the match.

On 17 minutes, Tongan stalwart Konrad Hurrell was sent to the sin-bin for a late hit on rovers’ half-back Jordan Abdull which led to the Reds having their best stint of the game as the Robins made the numbers count with Ryan Hall scoring his first try of the season after a slick shift play down the left-hand side.

From then on, Saints turned up the intensity and blew away the Robins.

Jordan Abdull was punished for a criminal forward pass as a simple but clinical move from Saints saw Tommy Makinson slide over in the corner for his first of the night. Rovers were their own worse enemies on the night, they matched the league leaders at this point but silly errors and poor game management skills started to creep into Tony Smith’s side.

Two quick-fire tries from Lewis Dodd killed off any comeback from the Robins and dampened the mood at Craven Park, again poor choices from KR’s playmakers gifted the Saints with possession, and as seen over the past three seasons, you give this team an inch,  and they will take a mile as a Saints score on the hooter added more salt in the Robins wounds.

Half Time – KR 4-24 St Helens

The half may have been different but the style of play from both teams stayed the same as another Rovers error and some sloppy individual defensive efforts from the Rovers middlemen saw Sione Mata’utia score an identical effort to his first as he doubled his tally. The night went from bad to worse for the East Hull outfit as former Saints start Lachlan Coote hobbled off the field to a chorus of “He’s the reason” by the travelling supporters.

On 53′ minute referee, James Child sent KR hooker Jez Litten to the sin-bin for dissent adding more pressure to the tiering Robins. The right-hand side defence of Rovers has been questioned throughout 2022 which saw seven of the eight tries scored by Saints all coming down the edge of Takairangi and Wood, a partnership that is struggling to contain their outside backs as another classy shift play fed Makinson for his second of the game and with the England International adding the extras from the touchline, the scoreboard painted a demolition job,  34-4 after 54 minutes.

Rovers looked a much better team with George King, Elliot Minchella and Matty Storton on the pitch, with King the standout of the bunch. The Irish Wolfhound sets the tone for the Rovers pack every time he takes onto the field and the big worry for Tony Smith is how to keep the momentum going when his homegrown forwards are having a breather, the impact off the bench and some poor individual performances of some of KR’s big money imports are costing the team so far in 2022.

Alex Walmsley was next to cross the whitewash as a pinpoint Jonny Lomax kick sat up perfectly for the powerhouse who scattered Matt Parcell over in his way to the line, a valiant effort from the Australian, but not many people stop big Al from close range.

An unsung hero on the night, Frankie Halton who was playing in the NCL four years ago has set Super League alight in his debut season with his first four games seeing the former Featherstone star make 156 tackles, completing every single one, a real bright spark on a disappointing night for KR. Halton scored a consolation try near the end after captain SKD kept the ball alive to feed the second-rower who opened his Sper Lague account.

The final try summed up Hull KR’s night, Will Dagger failed to kill the ball after a kick from Saints which saw Makinson dive on the spilt Robins’ ball to complete his hat-trick, Makinson ended the night with 5/8 from the tee.

Full Time – Hull KR 10-42 Saints


KR won’t come up against a better team all season but costly errors and poor game management will haunt you against most teams in the competition. The Robin’s middlemen must control the ruck and slow the play down as Saints ran riot against a tired-looking forward pack. Questions must be asked of Brad Takairangi who is the subject of a serious court case at the back end of the month with the outside-back looking lost out on the pitch, with the return of Ethan Ryan getting closer every week, Smith must assess what’s best for both the club and for the Takairangi family at this moment in time.

Star Man

Frankie Halton stole the headlines once again for the robins, he will be better for coming up against the best pack in the league and gave a positive account for himself. Halton will be a key asset for the reds this year and his versatility on the pitch makes him one of the first names on Tony Smiths’ teamsheet.

St Helens: Jack Welsby, Will Hopoate, Konrad Hurrell, Mark Percival, Tommy Makinson, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Sione Mata’utia, Joe Batchelor, Morgan Knowles.

Bench: Joey Lussick, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Agnatius Paasi.

Hull KR: Lachlan Coote, Sam Wood, Brad Takairangi, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Hall, Jordan Abdull, Mikey Lewis, Albert Vete, Matt Parcell, George King, Dean Hadley, Frankie Halton, Matty Storton.

Bench: Jez Litten, Korbin Sims, Elliot Minchella, Will Dagger.

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