Same Old Saints As Cas Rue Errors, And Catalans Overcome 'Worst Week Ever'

The champions came back from Australia and collected two points
10:00, 27 Feb 2023

Jet lag was already being cited for a potential St Helens defeat at Castleford Tigers on Sunday even before the Betfred Super League champions had left Australia after toppling Penrith Panthers to become the world champs to boot. Turns out, they needed no excuses.

Alex Walmsley’s second-half brace rounded out a 24-6 win at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle which ensured that the whole league knows how much Saints mean business. Without inspirational skipper James Roby and other key names such as Tommy Makinson, Will Hopoate, Curtis Sironen and Agnatius Paasi, there was no drop in professionalism or intensity as Cas were made to pay for not converting chances.


And oh, the chances! Jake Mamo saw three great breaks in the first half come to nothing as the ball was then put down on each occasions, challenging Leeds Rhinos for the record for the highest number of blown tries this weekend. But the worst of the lot came when the game was already put to bed, Bureta Faraimo landing on the touch in-goal line as he coasted in from an interception. Coach Lee Radford refused to share his thoughts on the bizarre moment after the match, and understandably so.

Saints, for their part, were more clinical in what was at times a scrappy fixture on Wheldon Road, with Jack Welsby and Tee Ritson getting them going with tries either side of half time, and the scramble defence which served them so well in Penrith was on show again as Mark Percival made one ridiculously good try-line save to deny Cas a nailed-on try.

Like the Tigers, Leeds were made to pay for not converting their chances on Friday as they went down to a second defeat of the season against Hull FC at Headingley, with Nene Macdonald, Ash Handley and Cameron Smith among the players to make clean breaks which came to nothing.


Leigh Leopards will also be kicking themselves having fallen 14-6 to a severely-weakened Catalans Dragons in Perpignan after what Les Dracs coach Steve McNamara called “the worst week ever”. A mix of sickness and injuries saw Catalans reduced to a shadow of their best side but tries from Tom Johnstone and Mickael Goudemand helped to drag the wounded warriors over the line, and Leigh coach Adrian Lam was left ruing his team’s lack of smarts after the game.

“I’m very proud of the team, but I’m very frustrated too because we got ourselves in positions there where we could have won,” Lam told reporters. “We lacked a bit of game management and that hurt us.

“But we’re close, and while I thought we deserved to win we didn’t, but that’s part of the growth within our group. We’ve just got to look after ourselves and stay within the bubble.”

Earlier in the weekend Hull Kingston Rovers made it two-for-two with a 24-10 comeback win away to Salford Red Devils, while Warrington Wolves beat Huddersfield Giants 26-16 and Wigan Warriors hammered Wakefield Trinity 60-0 to record their first success of the season.

And in the Betfred Challenge Cup, Midlands Hurricanes recorded a second straight win live on The Sportsman as they held off a big first-half effort from fifth-tier Hull Dockers to run out comfortable 50-4 winners at Hull KR’s Craven Park home, former Rovers players Liam Welham, Macauley Hallett and Elliott Wallis among the try scorers.


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