St Helens bounced back from their first Betfred Super League defeat of the season by beating Hull Kingston Rovers 30-6.
A 28-20 loss at the hands of Leeds Rhinos last week ended Saints’ perfect start to the campaign but they responded with a battling performance on the road to keep hold of top spot.
Ben Barba proved to be the difference for St Helens with a try in both halves and had a hand in a decisive Jonny Lomax score as Luke Thompson, on his 100th Super League appearance for the Saints, and Dominique Peyroux also crossed in a scoreline that was a bit harsh on the hosts.
Ryan Shaw got the Robins on the board with a try on the brink of half-time to reduce the score to 14-6 but injuries to George Lawler and Andrew Heffernan plagued Tim Sheens’ side, who could not back up their impressive victory at Huddersfield Giants.
Lawler suffered a dislocated ankle and a broken leg, while Danny McGuire was taken to hospital after the game due to a head injury.
Sheens attributed his side’s growing injury list as the source for his side’s defeat.
The trio will definitely miss Good Friday’s derby clash with Hull FC, but the Australian tried to remain positive.
"At one stage, we had 12 on the field when they score twice at the back end, which was disappointing for us as we couldn’t do anything about it," he said.
Prayers 🙏🏽🙏🏽 to the young kid George Lawler.. I hope he’s ok...— Zeb Taia (@JZTaia) March 23, 2018
"We had a 13th man but he wasn’t allowed on because of his HIA (Head Injury Assessment) so we probably had about four head knocks tonight. It was a tough night at the office, very tough.
"(Everyone) is disappointed because the effort was there. We just didn’t execute well. But we were very disruptive during the game with the different issues we had, but I think they put up a fight.
"There are a few things we need to fix which would have helped us out. I thought we competed well, we were just not good enough with the ball in hand.
"Everyone had there moments and everyone had there poor moments as well. As a team we will wear it. We are not going to sit back and dwell on it too much. There’s too much football in front of us."
Tim Sheens confirms to media that Lawler looks to have dislocated his ankle and broken his leg but awaiting full updates. Danny McGuire also off to hospital with a nasty head injury. Best wishes to both players. #RoversFamily— Hull Kingston Rovers (@hullkrofficial) March 23, 2018
St Helens boss Justin Holbrook was delighted to watch his side overcome their first defeat of the season.
"We were obviously disappointed last week and it’s about how you respond as a team and I thought we showed that tonight," the Australian said.
"We saw what a great win Hull (KR) had last week and we knew they haven’t played at home for a while so it was going to be tough and I thought we handled it really well. I’m really pleased with tonight’s win.
"I thought we were more settled with our attack this week, we have been a little bit lost the last couple of weeks so if we get that right then Bennie is going to get the rewards from that.
"I thought our forwards stood up and that helped Bennie play. Luke Dougas, Luke Thompson, Kyle Amor and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, I thought they were outstanding."