Rugby League talking points: Lachlan Coote's class & one happy Widnes fan
By Sky Sports Rugby League
Last Updated: 18/03/19 12:46pm
The St Helens juggernaut rolling on and Leeds Rhinos' fourth straight loss feature in this week's talking points...
Coote keeps Holbrook happy
St Helens' second-half flurry against Huddersfield means they have now bettered the start they made to last season, winning their opening six matches.
Justin Holbrook's side had to negotiate an opening period that was nip-and-tuck with Mark Percival's try just before the break meaning they held the advantage - but they turned on the style thereafter, with the attacking vibrancy of Jonny Lomax and Lachlan Coote standing out.
Coote's looped pass to allow Regan Grace to score and Saints to pull away was the pick of the four unanswered second-half tries as the depleted Giants were left to reflect on a fifth loss from their opening six matches.
Holbrook said of Coote's display: "He has a lot more responsibility which he's enjoying. He's been great for us already but he's only going to get better. The more he plays the better he will get with the combinations.
"The way Jonny, Theo and Cootey have kept us calm in attack has been fantastic. Everyone else is working so hard but they are in control of our team."
Wire must keep heads after Wigan scare
Hunting down St Helens are Warrington, who overcame a second-half fightback from struggling Wigan to make it five wins from six on Friday.
Blake Austin's sumptuous pass for Jake Mamo to score in the corner laid the foundations for the Wire's first win in four games against their fierce rivals, but a lack of ruthlessness at 18-0 nearly lead to the Warriors staging a remarkable comeback.
The loss of Austin to a head test almost proved pivotal during a crucial stage in the match with Wigan back to within six points of parity.
There was outstanding performances from Daryl Clark, Jason Clark and Mike Cooper, but having similarly allowed Huddersfield to claw themselves back from 16-0 down last month, the Wolves need to learn to manage games better if they are to challenge Saints.
Walker makes Red Devils debut after drugs ban
Adam Walker made his long-awaited return to a rugby field in Salford Red Devils' 24-20 loss to Castleford Tigers on Sunday.
The 28-year-old was banned for 20 months after testing positive for cocaine in 2017, but he came off the bench in the 26th minute and was straight into the thick of the action at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Paul McShane was sin-binned after he took exception to a challenge by the exuberant debutant on Peter Mata'utia, and it allowed Salford to claw themselves to within a score of their opponents with Jake Bibby reducing the arrears.
While the high-flying Tigers would eventually prevail through further scores from Greg Eden and Jesse Sene-Lefao, it is the return of Walker and the prop's tangle with McShane that will give Salford renewed hope for the campaign.
The Scotland international hasn't lost any of his competitive edge and after admitting to seeking help following his drugs ban, he will see this as a golden opportunity to rebuild his career.
Sam wins battle of the Tomkins brothers
For the first time, Sam Tomkins came face-to-face with Joel with the Hull KR captain left to rue his brother's crucial 76th-minute conversion which handed the Catalans Dragons a first away win of the season at KCOM Craven Park.
For so long it seemed it would be the elder of the two siblings who would be smiling come Sunday night, with Joel's sublime solo try making amends for the two games he missed after questioning the integrity of a match official.
Sam was shown a clean set of heels for Rovers' second try, but when it really mattered, the England full-back showed immense composure in front of the posts and a crowd that barracked him all afternoon
Dragons head coach Steve McNamara said afterwards: "Sam [Tomkins] is a big-game player. The wind was very tricky out there and swirling around. So, it was a clutch kick from him."
Broncos keep defying odds at lowly Leeds
Leeds' disastrous start to the season has been well-documented, but their latest collapse can be flipped and seen as another giant-killing for London Broncos after dispatching of Wigan not long ago.
Danny Ward's side were expected to struggle, and while it is still March, these early-season points on the board could prove pivotal come the autumn. Confidence is flowing through the veins after eating away an eight-point deficit against the Rhinos with four minutes remaining at Headingley.
Matty Fozard revitalised his side with the first of those scores, and it was entirely fitting that the London-produced Will Lovell who would set up Kieran Dixon for the match-winning conversion.
Many of the home supporters will have felt slightly pleased for the former Leeds prop Ward, who is bucking the trend and is a coach of the year contender with his side sitting joint-fifth with almost a quarter of the season gone.
Gelling's classy gesture to young Widnes fan
A crowd of 5,000 watched Widnes Vikings survive a Bradford Bulls fightback to make it three wins in a row in the Betfred Championship, and no one in the crowd at the Halton Stadium will have woken up with as big a beaming smile as young Billy Slater Leather.
Anthony Gelling played his part in a tense victory for the hosts which moves them to within two points of wiping out their 12-point deduction. And the former Wigan Warriors ace is fast becoming a fan's favourite after his brilliant gesture to young Billy.
A lot of speculation surrounded the Cook Islands international at the start of the season, but after pledging his future to Widnes for the 2019 campaign, he was only too happy to give his shirt to one of his army of followers in the players' car park. It proved quite a hit on social media!