Castleford 4 St Helens 72: Saints march on as Lyon tears Castleford apart

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The Independent Online

Saints coach Daniel Anderson expressed his irritation during the week that the relegation battle was diverting attention from the excellent football being played week-in, week-out by the top clubs, not least his own.

His table-topping side, who maintained their six-point lead over Hull, did Anderson's talking for him, displaying some wonderful attacking football as they consigned Castleford to a club record defeat.

Saints produced a near flawless first-half display to soak up early home pressure and then ruthlessly built a 36-0 interval lead which they added to remorselessly in the second half. They scored 12 tries, all converted by the flawless Jamie Lyon before conceding a last-minute close-range try to Gray Viane.

Leon Pryce, seemingly involved in everything, and Lyon, who collected a 32-point haul by also adding two tries, were the stand-outs in an outstanding performance. Paul Wellens and Sean Long also scored two tries apiece with six other players on the scoresheet.

Just as importantly, with the Challenge Cup final against Huddersfield looming, Saints did not collect any injuries. Paul Sculthorpe completed his second 80-minute run-out following his return from injury and Long, sidelined recently with a troublesome ankle, also came through well.

"Someone in the crowd asked me at half-time to take it easy but the players are just in a mood," said Anderson. "Castleford are riddled with busted players and probably need two wins to survive. Today wasn't one of them." Castleford need to rebuild confidence quickly to retain their hard-earned Super League status. Though their current points tally of 17 would have guaranteed safety in any other summer season, they are casting anxious eyes at Wigan and Wakefield, especially as only one of their last four games is at home.

"The rigours of the season have taken their toll," said Terry Matterson, the Castleford coach, "and we have got to regroup."

Castleford: Platt; A Fletcher, Shenton, Viane, Bird; McGoldrick, Handforth; D Sculthorpe, Henderson, Nutley, Manu, R Fletcher, Payne. Substitutes used: Kain, Edwards, Huby, Fa'aoso.

St Helens: Wellens; Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Meli; Pryce, Long; Cayless, Cunningham, P Anderson, P Sculthorpe, Wilkin, Hooper. Substitutes used: Fa'asavalu, Fozzard, Roby, V Anderson.

Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington).

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