Hull’s run of five wins in a row came to a shuddering halt at St James’ Park this afternoon when a resurgent St Helens side watched by new head coach Justin Holbrook rampaged to a 0-45 win.
Lee Radford’s side were second best in every department by a Saints side reminiscent of Saints sides of yesteryear, and not a side that shipped 53 points last week and only won 2 of the last 7 league games. The Saints pack led superbly by a rampaging Alex Walmsley and veteran James Roby smashed holes in Hull’s defensive line at will, Matty Smith was given the freedom of Newcastle to pepper FC with his kicking game.
The harder Hull tried the worse it got, dropped ball, wrong pass options and penalties late in the tackle count had Hull on the back foot constantly and much of their attacking play was lateral with no penetration to trouble the Saints and lethargy seemed to trouble the black and whites from the kick off.
Walmsley’s first try of the day summed up Hull’s lethargic approach to the game when he latched on to a routine short ball from Roby to steamroll through an attempted tackle from the normally rock solid Scott Taylor and Danny Houghton.
Smith’s kicking game and indecision by Hull’s edge defence allowed Ryan Morgan (below) to out-jump a static Jansin Turgut to get the second score in quick succession. The third try of the half again came from a Smith kick and an error from Hull. Smith given all the time in the world launched a towering kick that Steve Michaels failed to gather and after a bit of juggling. Morgan Knowles gathered and dived over to score.
Pressure on the Saints line was little and not too often and usually ended with an error as FC failed to trouble the scorers and right on half time Smith snapped over a drop goal to take St Helens in with a four score advantage, 0-19 at the break.
Whatever Lee Radford said at the break didn’t seem to work has the defensive woes of the first half soon returned and Louie McCarthy Scarsbrook powered over before Tommy Makinson (pictured below) scored the try of the match and probably the weekend.
Collecting a high kick on the full, Makinson put a step on a Hull defender to make room for himself brushed aside Carlos Tuimavave with a classic hand off and raced up the touch line evading a desperate last ditch tackle from Danny Houghton to bounce over the line to finish off a superb solo 90 metre effort.
Young winger Regan Grace piled more misery on FC and their travelling army of fans with two late tries to take the scoreline out to 0-45.
Hull just couldn’t find a spark all afternoon, even the effervescent Albert Kelly who looked to be carrying an injury late on could rally the Hulk clad troops. Both Kelly and half back partner Marc Sneyd were withdrawn late on as the damage was already irreparable.
Lee Radford summed up his side’s capitulation when he said “We threw jabs all afternoon and they threw bombs”, “When you keep taking bombs you’re going to hit the canvas at some point and that’s what happened”.
With a six day turnaround before two games in four days including a trip to the South of France and then Wigan at home Radford will have to ensure that his side are not the Incredible Sulk and be a lot more intense in attitude when it comes to the first of those games versus Leigh Centurions at the KCOM on Friday night.