Hull KR 8 – 42 St Helens

Three tries from Tommy Makinson, two apiece from Sione Mata’utia and Lewis Dodd, plus one from Alex Walmsley ensured Saints made it four wins from four in Friday’s Betfred Super League clash at Sewell Group Craven Park

Last Updated: 04/03/22 11:22 pm

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Highlights of the Betfred Super League match between Hull Kingston Rovers and St Helens

Highlights of the Betfred Super League match between Hull Kingston Rovers and St Helens

Tommy Makinson scored a hat-trick as St Helens continued their unbeaten Betfred Super League title defense with a 42-8 victory away to Hull Kingston Rovers.

The England star scored three tries and was successful with five from eight conversions, while team-mates Lewis Dodd and Sione Mata’utia each crossed twice and Alex Walmsley added another to hand Saints their fourth-successive win.

League leaders St Helens are aiming for a record fourth consecutive Grand Final victory and showed a few signs of slowing down in their eight-try romp at Sewell Group Craven Park.

Hull KR have won just one of their opening four fixtures in 2022, after a semi-final appearance last year, and struggled to break down Saints’ outstanding defense.

Story of the game

It took just three minutes for Kristian Woolf’s men to strike, with second-row Mata’utia crashing through some soft tackling to score and Makinson nailing the conversion to make it 6-0.

The home side pushed passes early and coughed up possession cheaply. Then in the 16th minute, center Konrad Hurrell was sent to the sin-bin for a late hit on Hull KR half-back Jordan Abdull.

Twelve-man St Helens managed to withstand a wave of Rovers attacks to keep their try-line intact, until winger Ryan Hall dived over in the corner after 22 minutes thanks to a brilliant cut-out pass from former Saints star Lachlan Coote. Abdull missed his conversion attempt from the sideline, however.

Hull KR's Dean Hadley is tackled

Hull KR’s Dean Hadley is tackled

St Helens’ only absentee was second row Curtis Sironen, who was serving a one-match suspension.

Lachlan Coote came back into the Hull KR side to face his old club after recovering from injury, while Dean Hadley was handed a start in the second row.

Makinson was the next to cross, touching down for his 150th career try for St Helens after a lovely pass from full-back Jack Welsby. The winger’s conversion was on target from out wide to give his team an eight-point buffer.

Three minutes later, the defending champions were in again, this time Dodd skipping past some slow defenders with a magical run to score his first try of the night. Makinson added the extras to make it a commanding 18-4 lead for Saints heading towards the break.

But it got worse for the under-pressure hosts just a minute before half-time when Dodd brought up his brace, after a clever grubber kick from Welsby wrongfooted the Rovers defense and the young half-back won the race to the ball.

Makinson’s fourth successful conversion took the score to 24-4 and put them in the driving seat at the interval. There was no let-up for Rovers after the break either, with Mata’utia quickly barging over again in textbook fashion for his second try of the night.

Mark Percival fights through the tackle of Hull KR's Elliot Minchella

Mark Percival fights through the tackle of Hull KR’s Elliot Minchella

Hull Kingston Rovers: Tries – Ryan Hall, Frankie Halton.

St Helens: Tries – Tommy Makinson (3), Sione Mata’tuia (2), Lewis Dodd (2), Alex Walmsley. Goals – Tommy Makinson (5)

Makinson’s perfect evening with the boot ended as he hooked his first conversion wide, but eight minutes later, the winger crossed for his own double, dancing down the sideline from Mata’utia’s bullet pass untouched for St Helens’ sixth try. The England international’s kick bounced off the post and over to take the lead to 34-4.

The seal was put on the win with 16 minutes remaining when prop Walmsley bulldozed his way over, although Makinson failed to convert the final St Helens score.

Then Frankie Halton crossed off Abdull’s kick for a Hull KR consolation try before Makinson touched down late to bring up his hat-trick.

What they said

Hull Kingston Rovers head coach Tony Smith

“We were way off what we’re capable of, but I’m not going to bash my boys too much.

“It’s good learning for us. If we want to get up there and contend, we have to handle some of that and then do some of that.”

St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf

“There were some tough periods early on, but we showed great intensity. Overall, I thought our defense was terrific. They’ve got a great attitude at the moment; they’re turning up for each other.

“Tommy had an exceptional game. Some of his carries early on really got us on the front foot. He’s always had a terrific ability to find the try-line.”

What’s next?

St Helens now aim to make it five in a row when they tackle Warrington Wolves, who are aiming to rebound from their first defeat of the season, in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Friday, March 11 (8pm kick-off).

The same night sees Hull KR make the trip to Salford Red Devils (7.45pm).

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