The St Helens coach, Nathan Brown, was delighted as his weakened side came from 12 points down on Sunday to maintain their 100 per cent record in Super League.
Brown gave a debut to the former Huddersfield threequarter Matty Dawson, who scored one of his side’s five tries in their 24-16 victory at Wakefield, and had four forwards making their first appearances of the season in the absence of five regulars through injury and suspension.
Saints were staring at a first defeat of 2014 when hooker Paul McShane scored his first try for the Wildcats two minutes into the second half but the visitors hit a purple patch, running in four tries in 15 minutes to ensure their return to the top of the table.
“We had a lot of personnel out in key positions,” Brown said, “a lot of people playing for the first time this year and others playing in different spots. In the first half from an attacking point of view we didn’t handle it so well, we were a bit disjointed. But they have a lot of threat across their team – they have scored 50 points in each of the last two weeks – and defensively we handled them reasonably well. And in the second half our offence improved enough to get us enough points to win.”
Without both overseas half-backs – Luke Walsh and Lance Hohaia – through injury, Brown turned to the veterans Paul Wellens and Jon Wilkin for his half-back combination and they played key roles in Saints’ comeback. “Wello did a good solid job for us,” Brown said. “He completes so hard whatever position he’s in.”
Rangi Chase inspired Salford to their first win in four games and sent his old club Castleford to a 23-16 defeat, their first of the season.
Widnes picked up their first away victory of 2014 in remarkable circumstances as they kept Hull FC pointless to make it four wins from five, triumphing 7-0. And Hull KR eased the pressure on their coach, Craig Sandercock, with a 16-0 win over Bradford.