Ruthless St Helens again showed why they have been a class apart in this season’s Super League as they dismantled Castleford 36-16 to close out the Dacia Magic Weekend and restore their six-point advantage at the top.
Their West Yorkshire opponents are no stooges, despite this being a fifth defeat in six, and started the day in the play-off positions before ending it as the Saints’ latest victims.
Only Catalans have stopped them this season and all the evidence suggests the rest of the division have everything to do to stop a march to the Old Trafford Grand Final and a possible seventh Super League title.
Wakefield will be the next side in their sights when they meet in the Challenge Cup next weekend.
Despite the scoreline, Saints had to withstand an early onslaught before getting going in front of a Sunday crowd of 26,812, taking the weekend aggregate to 56,869.
Drop outs ensured Saints did not get their hands on the ball until four minutes in and then, with seven gone, they scored, Tommy Makinson going in after a slick move between Theo Fages and Lachlan Coote on the back of Kevin Naiqama’s length-of-the-field intercept.
Saints soaked up some more pressure before ruthlessly picking off a second, Regan Grace in at the left corner after good hands from Coote and Zeb Taia.
Two led to three, the evergreen James Roby carving Castleford up down the middle and Jonny Lomax applying the finish, with Coote’s first goal of four taking it to 14-0.
Coote was providing again soon, his last-tackle run putting Fages in, but a Roby sin-binning after a tackle on Jake Trueman stopped Saints in their tracks.
Grant Millington got one back for Cas while he was off, scoring off a Paul McShane kick, but the Tigers were unable to make any more inroads while a man up.
With Roby back on, Saints returned to full throttle after the break, Jack Ashworth the recipient of a short ball from Joseph Paulo and scoring under the posts.
Coote got a try his play deserved on the hour, following Taia’s run and taking in his offload and a seventh red and white try was soon on the way.
Justin Holbrook’s men moved right to left and Fages stood up a fantastic ball for Naiqama who made it nine tries in five outings as he forced his way in at the corner.
St Helens’ evening’s work was slightly soured as Chris Clarkson an Greg Eden scrambled a pair of late consolations but it was too late too affect the outcome.