After suffering a big loss to the Salford Red Devils last time out, Champions and Champions elect St Helens were looking for a win which would move them within touching distance of the minor premiership as they took on the Castleford Tigers at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
The Tigers needed the win themselves to further stake their claim to a top six finish and a shot at the play-offs, a loss would leave them still battling against several other sides for the last couple of play-off places available.
The bookies were in no doubt as to who would be collecting the two points, the Tigers given a fourteen point start on the handicap coupon with Saints expected to win comfortably.
A poor play-the-ball from Tigers gifted the Saints a penalty on their own twenty on three minutes and Curtis Sironen powered his way over the line from ten metres out. Tommy Makinson added the conversion for a 6-0 lead, it was early but already looking ominous for the Tigers.
On fifteen the Saints were in for their second as Morgan Knowles too the Jack Welsby pass, span out of a tackle and jammed the ball onto the ground by the right upright. Makinson kicked an east conversion for 12-0.
A swinging arm from Liam Watts on Jonny Lomax resulted in a sinbin for the Tigers man but Makinson missed what should have been a simple penalty goal.
Castleford rode out the next ten with a man short, Saints not adding to their total.
As the Tigers pushed to get back on terms every six ended with an error as they tried to force the pass or offload, Saints not pulling away like they might have indicated early on, but the Tigers not threatening the line.
In the dying seconds of the half Dan Hill should have collected a dink to the corner from Jon Bennison but knocked the ball on with the line begging.
A forty-third minute penalty goal extended the lead to three tries as the Tigers again paid for their indiscipline.
Seven minutes into the half Sironen was binned for a high tackle on Mahe Fonua on his own try line but Saints defended their line with twelve and prevented any Tigers points despite a penalty and a set restart.
As Joe Batchelor chased a Lomax grubber, he was impeded by Gareth O´Brien, the decision went to the video referee who called a penalty try. Makinson kicked the conversion for 20-0, the lead extended with a man short.
Just after the hour Danny Richardson put in a sensational 40-20, the ball finding touch just short of the Saints try line. After getting a repeat set following a McCarthy-Scarsbrook dropped ball, the ball was moved right with Bureta Faraimo crashing over in the corner. Richardson´s conversion attempt drifted wide, the Tigers still sixteen adrift.
On sixty-eight the Tigers were in again, the ball again moved right with Faraimo grounding in the corner for his second of the match. Richardson was again wide with the conversion, his side still twelve points adrift.
With five minutes remaining a flying Faraimo completed a fifteen-minute hat-trick, once again by the right corner flag. Paul McShane took over the kicking duties, but he was also unable to hit the target.
Saints did what Saints do, they got the win by going through the motions and never getting out of first gear. The Tigers were their own worst enemy in the first half and when they did start scoring, they could only do so down the right wing, squeezing over three times in the corner thanks to Faraimo. Saints are another step closer to the minor premiership, the Tigers getting dragged back into the race for play off places.
St Helens: Bennison, Makinson (4G), Hurrell, Davies, Hill, Welsby, Lomax, Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Sironen (T, SB on 47)), Batchelor (T), Knowles (T). Subs: McCarthy-Scarsborook, Lussick, Wingfield, Bell.
Castleford Tigers: Eden, Olpherts, Fonua, Blair, Faraimo (3T), O´Brien, Richardson, Watts (SB on 19), McShane, Griffin, Edwards, Mellor, Westerman. Subs: Sutcliffe, Matagi, Martin, Feki.
Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 10-0, 12-0, (SB) : HT : 14-0, (SB), 18-0, 20-0, 20-4, 20-8, 20-12 : FT.
Lead Exchanges: St Helens.
Referee: Chris Kendall.