Super League: Hull FC 6-22 St Helens - leaders end Black and Whites' play-off hopes
|Betfred Super League|
|Hull FC (6) 6|
|Try: Taylor Goal: Sneyd|
|St Helens (14) 22|
|Tries: Makinson 3, Percival, Grace Goal: Coote|
Hull FC missed out on a Super League play-off place as Tommy Makinson's first-half hat-trick steered top-of-the-table St Helens to a 22-6 victory.
Following Castleford's defeat at Wigan on Thursday, the Black and Whites knew victory would secure fifth spot.
But England winger Makinson twice touched down in the corner and completed his treble before the break, after Scott Taylor replied for Hull.
Mark Percival and Regan Grace added further tries to end the hosts' hopes.
Hull finish the season sixth in the table, level on points with Castleford but with an inferior points difference, after a run of six defeats from their final seven games.
League Leaders' Shield winners St Helens now have a week off before embarking on their bid to reach an 11th Grand Final with a play-off semi against either reigning champions Wigan or Salford.
They ended the regular season a record 16 points clear at the top of the table. And their 26th win in 29 matches could have been even more comprehensive.
Lachlan Coote missed with four of his conversion attempts from Saints' five tries, but the full-back was still a central figure.
His cut-out pass paved the way for Makinson to score acrobatically in the corner before he touched down again from Theo Fages' kick to the corner.
Taylor powered his way over from close range from Jamie Shaul's break and offload to get Hull on the scoreboard, only for Makinson to capitalise on another Coote pass to complete his hat-trick - and lift him above Salford full-back Niall Evalds and Leeds winger Ash Handley as Super League top scorer on 23 tries.
The St Helens defence had to stand firm when Hull piled on the pressure at the start of the second half, but they eased clear in the final quarter.
Percival was put in by Zeb Taia following a break by Makinson, and Grace added a fifth try late on after Hull half-back Albert Kelly had been sent to the sin-bin for dissent.
Hull FC boss Lee Radford:
"Defensively, I was really pleased. Offensively, the last month has shown us some areas of improvement and give us some real focus for the off season.
"This last month has just shown us where we need to improve. I have had some real flak this last month and rightly so. You expect that as a head coach with some of our performances.
"But I can't thank the fans enough for getting behind the team this evening with all the noise they made. I have played in front of that crowd and I know you can find an extra little effort when they are as vocal as that.
"Everybody had us finishing seventh, eighth or ninth. Every pundit on the planet. So either we did exceptionally well to get up to second and a Challenge Cup semi-final. Or we didn't do a good enough job to stay in it."
St Helens coach Justin Holbrook:
"Tommy Makinson was brilliant, our best player by far. When we weren't at our best with the ball he came up with some great finishes.
"But he also gets us out of our own end better than anyone else in the game. He did that and showed what a great player he is.
"To be good enough to finish 16 points clear of second spot is a huge effort. Someone told me it was the biggest winning margin over second place.
"It doesn't win you a trophy at Old Trafford but it is a huge credit to the playing group for turning up to play at a certain level every week."
Hull: Shaul, Naulago, Tuimavave, Griffin, Faraimo, Kelly, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Satae, Minichiello, Lane, Ellis.
Interchanges: Bowden, Connor, Matongo, Fash.
St Helens: Coote, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Thompson, Roby, Walmsley, Peyroux, Z. Taia, Knowles.
Interchanges: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Ashworth, Bentley.
Referee: Liam Moore