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Super League: St Helens coach Nathan Brown happy with win and is now ready for Wigan
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St Helens coach Nathan Brown was delighted after watching his side return to form with a 38-16 win over fourth-placed Castleford.
Brown's men took advantage of Wigan's surprise defeat at Wakefield with a comprehensive victory at Langtree Park to return to the top of the Super League ahead of Friday's derby against Wigan at the DW Stadium.
Saints were back to their best as they bounced back from the humiliation of their 42-0 hammering by Catalan Dragons, running in seven tries against a disappointing Tigers outfit.
"We're really happy," Brown said. "We surrendered a couple of tries at the end but as a whole for 70 or 75 minutes, I thought we were by far the dominant team."
Saints were beaten 33-14 on Good Friday by their arch rivals Wigan and now Brown is relishing the chance to hand them back-to-back defeats.
"We're looking forward to playing Wigan on Friday," he said. "We got the chocolates reasonably convincingly on Good Friday
"We're back on top and we'd like to make sure we put in a good performance and try to maintain that position if we can."
Saints' man of the match was veteran skipper Paul Wellens, who scored two first-half tries and slotted effortlessly back into his old full-back role in the absence of Jonny Lomax.
With Lomax ruled out for the rest of the campaign with a knee injury, the 34-year-old Wellens will keep the job for the rest of the year and is certain to be offered a new contract for 2015.
"We haven't spoken to him about that yet," Brown said. "But he's playing well and it's obviously a conversation that we'll be having shortly I'd imagine.
"With his performances and his durability and what he contributes to the club, it's obviously something we need to look at.
"The effect he has on his team-mates is even better than the way he plays."
Centre Mark Percival also scored two tries, winger Tom Makinson took his tally for the season to 15 and scrum-half Luke Walsh contributed 14 points with a try and five goals.
Castleford went into the game on the back of a 46-6 rout at Wigan, but were without leading tryscorer Justin Carney, who withdrew on the morning of the match through illness, and they lost right winger Kirk Dixon with an eye injury at half-time.
Lack of composure
Left winger James Clare was brought in at short notice to take over from Carney and it was his blunder that provided the turning point.
The visitors were still in touch at 16-4 on the stroke of half-time but were left with too much to do when Clare gifted a try to Wellens by attempting to keep the ball alive near his own line.
"James showed a lack of composure and I thought it summed up our first half," coach Daryl Powell said
"I thought we were pretty dumb to be honest. We were in the game and making line breaks consistently but we came up with some poor decisions on back of them.
"We didn't give ourselves chance to get into the game.
"We couldn't get a penalty all game - we got one on 71 minutes which was remarkable - but we made too many errors and that try just before half-time was a real hammer blow.
"St Helens were excellent. Walsh was superb and put us under pressure with his kicking game but I thought we were pretty poor.
"There was a lack of energy and a lack of communication. It was one of those tough days at the office and we've two on the spin now and obviously questions get asked."
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First Utility Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||3||2|
|10||Salford Red Devils||3||2|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th March|
|20:00||Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos|
|Friday 6th March|
|20:00||Wakefield Wildcats vs St Helens|
|20:00||Huddersfield Giants vs Widnes Vikings|
|20:00||Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:30||Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th March|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Hull K R|
|Thursday 12th March|
|20:00||Huddersfield vs Castleford|
|Friday 13th March|
|20:00||Warrington vs Leeds|
|20:00||Wigan vs Hull|
|20:00||Widnes Vikings vs St Helens|
|First Utility Super League|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Widnes Vikings 16 - 58 Wakefield Wildcats|
|Hull K R 22 - 20 Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Salford Red Devils 32 - 28 Hull FC|
|Catalans Dragons 38 - 18 Warrington Wolves|
|Friday 27th February|
|St Helens 21 - 14 Castleford Tigers|
|Thursday 26th February|
|Leeds Rhinos 28 - 24 Huddersfield Giants|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wakefield 44 - 24 Hull K R|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Catalans Dragons 13 - 12 Castleford|
|Friday 13th February|
|Hull 6 - 7 Warrington|
|Leeds 38 - 6 Widnes|
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