Huddersfield 12-40 St Helens: Super League leaders retain only 100 percent record left in the competition

Mark Percival celebrates scoring a try for St Helens
Mark Percival celebrates scoring a try for St Helens

Leaders St Helens finished strongly to beat bottom side Huddersfield 40-12 and preserve the only 100 percent record left in Super League.

The Giants, fresh from their first win of the season at champions Wigan, threatened to pull off another shock when they drew level at 12-12 on the back of some enterprising rugby.

But England centre Mark Percival scored the first of his two tries three minutes before half-time to restore Saints' lead and the table-toppers added another four tries after the break to run out 40-12 winners as Huddersfield wilted.

Saints coach Justin Holbrook had the luxury of recalling veteran hooker James Roby after resting him for last week's win over London Broncos. The Giants, meanwhile, were without Aaron Murphy, Jake Wardle and Adam O'Brien and suffered further injury blows during the game.

Saints showed their early danger through Percival, who looked to be dancing his way through for the opening try until Giants forward Ukuma Ta'ai dislodged the ball from his grasp.

There was no stopping prop Luke Thompson moments later, however, as he put the visitors in front and Lachlan Coote kicked the first of his six goals.

The Huddersfield defence also opened up invitingly for loose forward Morgan Knowles to take Roby's pass and score a second try after 22 minutes.

However, in between the scores the Giants created a superb try for England winger Jermaine McGillvary and more enterprising play enabled them to strike again after 25 minutes through former Saints centre Jordan Turner.

Lee Gaskell curled both conversions between the posts from wide out to level the scores but the game took a decisive shift just before half-time.

First second rower Sam Hewitt, a substitute for a dazed Joe Wardle, fumbled the ball on the St Helens line and immediately the visitors worked their way upfield for Percival to touch down from Jonny Lomax's grubber kick.

That gave the visitors a 16-12 interval lead and Coote nudged them further ahead with a penalty early in the second half before the decisive score came after 53 minutes.

Coote's attacking kick held up just inside the dead-ball area and, when McGillvary lost the ball in the tackle, Percival stretched out a hand to score his second try.

It was another illustration of the misfortune of Huddersfield, who lost second rower Wardle with concussion in the first half and prop Matty English with a leg injury on the hour.

When the unfortunate Akuila Uate knocked on inside his own 20-metre, he was instantly punished for the error with Saints scoring from the resultant scrum through winger Regan Grace, courtesy of Coote's cut-out pass.

McGillvary then had a try disallowed for a forward pass before Saints finished in total control with Dominique Peyroux and Lomax adding further tries in the last 12 minutes.

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