Super League: Castleford Tigers 24-40 St Helens
Castleford Tigers (16) 24
- Owen, Tansey, Hauraki, Carney, Chase
- Dixon 2
St Helens (12) 40
- Makinson 3, Lomax, Thompson, Turner, Walmsley
- O'Brien 6
Tommy Makinson's hat-trick of tries earned St Helens an important win in their battle for a play-off spot.
Castleford led 16-12 at half time as Richard Owen, Jordan Tansey and Weller Hauraki all crossed for the Tigers.
Makinson and Jonny Lomax replied for Saints, who took control with two more scores from Makinson and others from Luke Thompson and Jordan Turner.
Justin Carney and Rangi Chase went over for Cas but Alex Walmsley's late try for Saints made it safe.
But their victory came at a cost, with James Roby forced off early on with an ankle injury.
The England hooker missed 10 weeks of the season early in the campaign and there are fears he may have suffered the same injury to his other ankle.
Earlier in the week, Saints chairman Eamonn McManus criticised recent performances during a Super League slump but publicly backed Nathan Brown's men to end the season well.
A hard-fought win will do a lot to ease the tension around Langtree Park, as they extended the gap between themselves and ninth-placed Wakefield to four points.
Castleford started the brighter, with winger Owen finishing off Grant Millington's break and full-back Tansey also crossing.
Gareth O'Brien, who successfully converted six of St Helens' seven tries, was the provider for Makinson's first and, although Hauraki touched down Chase's kick for a third Tigers score, a brave try from Lomax reduced the deficit to four points at the interval.
Young Saints prop Thompson and centre Turner added scores within 10 minutes of the restart, but back came the Tigers through winger Carney, who crossed on his return from suspension.
Makinson's quickfire brace to complete his hat-trick, the first a length-of-the-field effort, put the result beyond doubt.
Chase provided a bit of magic to add some respectability to the scoreline, only for Walmsley to restore the 16-point lead with the try his personal performance deserved.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell:
"It was a good opportunity for us and at half time I thought we were good value for where we were. I thought we should have been further in front. We dominated the game but they got us with a couple of sucker punches.
"Then we just didn't come out at the start of the second half and, once St Helens get you by the throat, they are pretty good.
"I expected there to be a few points today because of the conditions but it's not an excuse. Defensively we should have been better.
"Today was a step back. We've just got to keep working hard and front up in our next game."
St Helens head coach Nathan Brown on James Roby's injury:
"He's not so flush. They feel he may have done the exact same injury on the other foot, which is not great.
"The trendy word for it is syndesmosis. He's tested positive for two signs of it so it's not 100% but he's certainly not going to be good because James Roby doesn't come off. He's a tough kid.
"If it is the same injury, it's a 10-weeker."
Castleford: Tansey; Owen, Shenton, Dixon, Carney; Hauraki, Chase; Boyle, Milner, Huby, Thompson, Millington, Massey.
Replacements: Walker, Clark, Holmes, Mason.
St Helens: Lomax; Makinson, Turner, Jones, Meli; Wilkin, O'Brien; Puletua, Roby, Clough, Thompson, Manu, McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
Replacements: Walmsley, Wellens, Greenwood, Richards.
Referee: George Stokes (RFL)