St Helens 48-10 Wakefield Trinity: Saints storm into Challenge Cup semi-finals
By Sky Sports Rugby League
Last Updated: 01/06/19 5:35pm
Eight tries from eight different scorers saw St Helens book their place in the Coral Challenge Cup semi-finals with a convincing 48-10 victory at home to Wakefield Trinity on Saturday afternoon.
A converted try from 19-year-old debutant Jack Croft had Wakefield back on level terms on six minutes after an early score from Lachlan Coote had seen Saints storm into the lead.
But it was all the hosts for the rest of the first half, with Tommy Makinson, Morgan Knowles and Regan Grace all getting over, while Trinity had Ryan Hampshire sin-binned.
A try from Tyler Randell 10 minutes after the restart gave Wakefield a glimmer of hope, but further scores from Zeb Taia, Mark Percival, Jonny Lomax and Kevin Naiqama sealed a convincing win.
Six points clear in Super League and buoyed by revelations before kick-off from chairman Eamonn McManus about the club's healthy financial position, these are good times for St Helens.
On the field, they were bolstered by the return from injury of Luke Thompson, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and centre Percival, the latter for the 150th appearance of his career.
Wakefield were boosted by the return of veteran half-back Danny Brough but they were without blockbusting forward David Fifita while the withdrawal through illness of centre Mason Caton-Brown meant a debut for Croft.
Any suggestion of an upset disappeared within three minutes when stand-off Lomax burst clean through the Wakefield defence to get Coote over for the opening try.
It is 40 years since Trinity's last Wembley appearance and young Croft briefly gave them hope of bridging that gap when he handed off Fiji international Naiqama to score a try converted by Brough to level the scores, but that was as good as it got for them.
Trinity lost experienced back rower Danny Kirmond with a head knock in the 17th minute and they were on the back foot throughout the second quarter.
England winger Makinson showed his class with an acrobatic finish at the corner after tip-toeing down the touchline and was instrumental in the next score for loose forward Knowles.
Second rower Dom Peyroux turned defence into attack by swooping on a handling error by full-back Hampshire and getting Naiqama racing upfield. Ben Jones-Bishop hauled him down short of the line, but Wakefield were unable to regroup in time to prevent Knowles crossing at the corner.
Hampshire's afternoon got worse after 26 minutes when he was penalised for a ball steal after stopping Knowles' charge to the line and then sin-binned by referee Chris Kendall.
Unable to halt the Saints machine with a full complement, Wakefield's task became hopeless with 12 men and James Roby and Zeb Taia combined to give winger Regan Grace an unopposed run to the line for the home side's fourth try.
Coote added a third penalty just before the break to extend the lead to 26-6.
Back to 13, Chris Chester's side were more competitive in the second half and pulled a try back when Randell touched down Brough's grubber kick, but it proved to be only a minor hindrance to Saints.
The last quarter belonged to veteran second rower Taia, fresh from signing a new contract for 2020, who burst through for a solo try and created others for Percival and Lomax before Naiqama raced away for Saints' eighth try.