It was top against bottom as minor premiers elect St Helens were pitted against the lowly Wakefield Trinity in the last round sixteen match at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium.
Saints were massive favourites coming into the game but after a number of close results in recent weeks coach Chris Chester was due a bit of good luck. Saints were without James Graham but still named an impressive squad and they knew that a win would make them increasingly secure at the top of the table.
The two sides met just six days ago, Saints winning by 20-16 as Trinity gave them a tremendous game, leading at the interval but eventually succumbing to the Champions.
From the kick-off it was constant Saints pressure and with just three minutes on the clock Jack Welsby offloaded to James Roby who ran in from ten metres for the opener. Lachlan Coote was wide of the target from the left touchline.
Good pressure from Wakefield came to nothing and on fifteen minutes Tommy Makinson was on hand to take the ball wide on the right wing and on a big overlap run in from ten metres to score the second Saints try. Coote was again off target, Saints eight points ahead.
Roby got his second on twenty-eight, scooting from acting half back, throwing the dummy and going between two Wakefield tacklers to get the ball on the ground. Coote, this time, added the conversion for 14-0, the Champions pulling away.
Just after the half hour mark Alex Walmsley scored the fourth Saints try, powering his way over the line by the left upright despite the attention of four Wakefield defenders. Coote made it up to fifty percent with his conversions on the night for 20-0.
It was becoming ‘one of those nights’ as Saints became unstoppable. Makinson was the beneficiary of fast hand, the final pass coming from Jonny Lomax, as he scored a sensation one handed try in the right corner as Trinity tried to push him into touch. Coote found the target again, this one from the touchline.
With twenty second remaining on the first half clock Tommy Makinson completed his hat-trick, thanks to a miss-out pass from Lachlan Coote, to go over down the right-hand side. Coote was unable to add the extras but Saints took a 30-0 lead into the break.
It was a far better start to the second half for Wakefield who kept Saints at bay for seventeen minutes before Innes Senior intercepted the ball ten from his own line and went almost the length of the field to score Trinity’s first try of the night. Ryan Hampshire added the extra two for 6-30.
Regan Grace got in on the act on sixty-six minutes, the first Saints score of the second half. Fast hands from static players saw the ball fed to Grace to summersault over by the left corner flag. Coote added the conversion from wide to regain the thirty-point lead.
Coote and Lewis Dodd combined for the eighth Saints try of the night after the full back broke downfield and found the youngster supporting him to go ten metres to ground. Coote added the conversion for 42-6.
The icing on the cake came with one minute left on the clock as Kevin Naiqama took a Coote pass to walk through a tired Trinity defence for the four pointer. Coote added the conversion for a final score of 48-6.
Saints were at their devastating best from the first blow on Ben Thalers whistle until the half-time hooter but a stronger start to the second half from Trinity saw the sides sharing just twelve points in the opening twenty-five minutes of the half. Saints go even further clear at the top of the Super League table and they will take some catching as they look for their third consecutive minor premiership. Wakefield continue to struggle and are now well and truly anchored to the bottom of the table.
St Helens: Coote (6G), Grace (T), Welsby, Naiqama (T), Makinson (3T), Lomax, Fages, Walmsley (T), Roby (2T), Lees, Taia, Bentley, Knowles. Subs: Peyroux, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Dodd (T).
Wakefield Trinity: Walker, Johnstone, Croft, Lyne, Senior, Jowitt, Hampshire, Green Wood J, Kopczak, Ashurst, Tanginoa, Westerman. Subs: Fifita, Battye, Navarrete, Batchelor.
Referee: Rob Hicks.
Half Time: 30-0.
Full Time: 48-6.
Venue: Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington.