1st October 2020, 22:00 | super_league
St Helens took advantage of an under-strength Wigan Warriors side to climb to the Betfred Super League summit with a 42-0 derby victory as the teams around them suffered midweek setbacks.
Warriors coach Adrian Lam opted to field something of a makeshift team with one eye firmly on Saturday’s Coral Challenge Cup semi-final against Leeds Rhinos and, although the youngsters battled bravely, there was never any doubt about the outcome.
With only the Grand Final to aim at, St Helens coach Kristian Woolf fielded his strongest team and they set off at a point a minute to rack up an 18-0 lead which effectively ended the game as a contest.
Regan Grace and Jack Welsby both touched down twice, while James Bentley, Morgan Knowles and Alex Walmsley also contributed tries and Lachlan Coote split the posts on seven occasions.
The result was enough for top spot, with Warrington Wolves losing 20-18 to Salford Red Devils and Leeds Rhinos beaten 34-6 by Catalans Dragons.
Salford came from 18-0 down to snatch their victory over youthful opponents, ending Warrington’s nine-match winning run in the process.
The Red Devils took the lead for the first time in the match with a penalty from Krisnan Inu less than two minutes from the end as Wolves failed narrowly to hold on to their hard-won lead.
Leeds also fielded a much-changed side ahead of their Wigan semi-final and were punished by a first-half hat-trick from Tom Davies.
Only Luke Briscoe and Adam Cuthbertson were included in the Rhinos team that beat Hull KR last week and fleet-footed Davies made the difference as the visitors shrugged off some impressive early resistance from a Leeds team featuring no fewer than five debutants in their starting line-up.
Luke Robinson made it three wins out of three in his role of caretaker coach as Huddersfield Giants held off a spirited Hull KR 32-22 at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Rovers hooker Matt Parcell, who this week signed a new contract for 2021, scored a second-half hat-trick of tries, but the visitors had left themselves too much to do after a dreadful first half saw them trailing 18-0 at the break.
The kick-off was put back by 90 minutes after the Giants reported four positive coronavirus tests, but none of them affected Robinson’s team selection and winger Jermaine McGillvary was quick to make up for lost time with two tries before the break, taking his career tally to 169 and ninth on the all-time Super League list.
In the final match of the midweek programme, teenager Ben McNamara capped a memorable Super League debut with a try as Hull FC kept alive their slender play-off hopes with a 32-28 victory over Castleford Tigers.
The 18-year-old son of former England coach Steve McNamara came on after 16 minutes and, with his side clinging to a four-point lead, crowned an encouraging first outing by finishing off a break by Jake Connor in the 61st minute.
Salford Red Devils 20-18 Warrington Wolves
Wigan Warriors 0-42 St Helens
Leeds Rhinos 6-34 Catalans Dragons
Huddersfield Giants 32-22 Hull KR
Castleford Tigers 28-32 Hull FC