Super League: St Helens 36-24 Hull Kingston Rovers
|Betfred Super League|
|St Helens (16) 36|
|Tries: Coote, Welsby, Thompson, Amor, Smith, Grace Goals: Coote 6|
|Hull KR (18) 24|
|Tries: Linnett 2, Oakes, Lunt Goals: Shaw 4|
Super League leaders St Helens overcame a Hull KR fightback to make it eight wins out of eight this season.
Saints had looked to be heading for an easy victory when they raced into an early 16-0 lead, before conceding 18 straight points to trail at half-time.
Rovers battled in the second period but after an exchange of scores, back-to-back tries from Kyle Amor and Aaron Smith finally put the hosts back ahead.
Regan Grace crossed late on to make sure of a hard-earned win.
They remain two points clear at the top as nearest challengers Warrington also won, while Rovers stay eighth on six points from nine games.
Justin Holbrook's side made a characteristically fast start, Lachlan Coote the beneficiary of a superb break from Theo Fages and unselfish offload from Dominique Peyroux.
Jack Welsby then scored his first Saints try, with Fages again the architect - this time providing a perfect cut-out pass.
When Luke Thompson barged over and Coote made it two out of three from the tee, Hull KR sprang into life.
They were quickly back in it when the fit-again Kane Linnett slid over in the corner and Ryan Shaw scored a similar try moments later.
Linnet then smashed his way through the Saints defence just before the interval to score his second, leaving Shaw to add the extras and secure an unlikely half-time lead.
Soon after the restart it was all square thanks to Coote's goal, but parity did not last long as a terrible error from St Helens' usually reliable Jonny Lomax saw him spill the ball behind his own line to gift Rovers' Danny Addy the simplest of scores.
The home side found enough though, Amor muscling his way over, Smith making a quick dart for the line from dummy half and Grace squeezing into the corner.
Coote missed just once from the tee all night, ending with a personal tally of 16 points.
St Helens coach Justin Holbrook:
"It was definitely a difficult game for us and a huge win. That was due to them playing well and the chopping and changing we had to do last minute.
"We had a mixed bag in terms of players missing but we got the job done. Some of the young players have really stepped up and (Luke) Thompson was our best player. He was all last year, too.
"We've not had to rely on him as much this year but he can play a lot longer and he had to tonight."
Hull KR head coach Tim Sheens:
"Injuries do break the rhythm. I haven't been close to naming my best side from day one.
"You need your key people directing the game. The halves and hooker are so crucial, and we've been all over the place in those positions.
"We don't have the depth of a Warrington or a St Helens. We need our best side to be competitive. You can only go so far. Hull FC are experiencing a bit of that themselves."
St Helens: Coote, Makinson, Grace, Naiqama, Walmsley, Lomax, Fages, Thompson, Smith, Lees, Peyroux, Bentley, Knowles.
Replacements: Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Ashworth,
Hull KR: Hall, Shaw, Keinhorst, Crooks, Oakes, Drinkwater, Atkin, Masoe, Lee, Lawler, Tomkins, Linnett, Hauraki.
Replacements: Garbutt, Vaivai, Addy, Lunt.
Referee: Tom Grant (RFL).