Rugby League: Newlove is the catalyst for Saints

St Helens 42 Castleford Tigers 14
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The Independent Online
CASTLEFORD WERE made to look anything but top five contenders as St Helens, already safely in the play-offs, over-ran them at Knowsley Road last night. Most of the damage was done in the first half as Saints, inspired by Chris Joynt and Paul Newlove, scored five tries to have the game comfortably won. Defeat leaves Castleford possibly needing to win two of their remaining three games to reach the play-offs.

Castleford's first-half troubles began as they attacked in the second minute. They appeared to have Saints stretched, but Nathan Sykes' pass was picked up by Paul Newlove, who cruised 80 yards to score.

Two tries in three minutes from the St Helens captain, Chris Joynt, then put them firmly in control. In both cases he charged through some weak tackling in the left centre channel with the defence all too conscious of the threat of Newlove outside him.

Tommy Martyn started the match on the substitutes' bench but soon announced his arrival with a huge, ground-gaining penalty. From that attacking position, Martyn struck for Saints' fourth try.

A sudden attack of sloppiness saw Saints twice surrender possession unnecessarily and then open up to allow Aaron Raper and Dean Sampson to set up a try for Brad Davis, converted by Danny Orr.

However, immediately before half-time another massive kick from Martyn put Saints on the offensive again and Paul Sculthorpe dived over from close range.

Saints handicapped themselves at the start of the second half by having Paul Atcheson sin-binned for deliberate off-side. Straight away, Orr placed a kick for Jon Wells to take and touch down. Saints' reply was a thrilling solo try from Fereti Tuilagi, although, with Atcheson still off the field, quick Castleford handling saw Darren Rogers cross in the corner.

Saints' seventh try was arguably their best, Newlove making the initial break and the young substitute, Steve Hall, doing superbly to set up Sean Long for a touchdown and a seventh goal to continue his perfect kicking record.

St Helens: Atcheson, C Smith, Tuilagi, Newlove, Sullivan, Long, Wellens, Perelini, Cunningham, O'Neill, Joynt, Nickle, Sculthorpe. Substitutes used: Martyn, Edmundson, Price, Hall.

Castleford Tigers: Flowers, Wells, Eagar, Maloney, Rogers, Orr, Davis, Sampson, Raper, Sykes, Harland, Tonks, Vowles. Substitutes used: P Smith, Hepi, Tallec.

Referee: S Cummings (Widnes).