Super League: St Helens 21-14 Castleford Tigers
|First Utility Super League|
|St Helens(10) 21|
|Tries: Swift, Makinson, Jones, Percival Goals: Percival 2 Drop-goal: Wilkin|
|Castleford Tigers(0) 14|
|Tries: Carney 2, Tansey Goals: Gale|
St Helens recovered from their World Club Challenge defeat to maintain their perfect start to the new Super League season against winless Castleford.
Saints were thrashed 39-0 by South Sydney Rabbitohs but got back on track against Tigers to top the early table.
Adam Swift, Tommy Makinson and Josh Jones earned the hosts a 14-point lead.
Two tries from Justin Carney gave Castleford hope, but Mark Percival's score put the game out of sight, despite Jordan Tansey's late effort.
Before their unwanted record defeat at the hands of Hollywood actor Russell Crowe's Sydney side, St Helens' season had got off to the perfect start with wins over Salford and Catalans Dragons, in which they conceded only two tries.
On the contrary, Castleford had narrowly lost their opening two games of the 2015 campaign against the Dragons and Wakefield and were edged out once again.
A handling error by Tansey led to Swift's opening try in the left-hand corner, and Percival added the extras.
The Tigers were unlucky not to get off the mark as Ryan Boyle and Tansey had scores chalked off by the video referee after forward passes.
And Makinson made it 10-0 to Saints at the break when he touched down from Jonny Lomax's ball over the top.
Carney's wayward ball across the defensive line gifted St Helens the third try, which was touched down by Jones.
But the Tigers winger made amends for his earlier error by crossing twice to bring his side back into the contest - touching down the first in the corner before he dabbed down from a brilliant cross-field kick by Luke Gale.
Saints saw prop Kyle Amor yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on Tansey but they shrugged it off to extend their lead as Percival wriggled free from the defence to score and added the extras from the tee.
Jon Wilkin landed his first drop-goal in 10 years to edge Saints further ahead, and Tansey's late converted score following another Gale kick proved to be a mere consolation.
St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham: "I'm really proud of what we did today. It's been quite an emotional week.
"Our pride was hurt and it was a tough job to try and get them up on a short turn-around.
"We had 20 minutes of a training session yesterday to recover more than anything.
"It wasn't the most entertaining game. We were dumb in certain areas and Cas came to play but we hung in and just did enough."
Castlefield Tigers coach Daryl Powell: "I thought we should have won. It's a bit of a habit.
"It was a disappointing first half. We had lots of opportunities and didn't take any.
"I still thought at 10-0 we had a great opportunity to win the game but to give six points away in the manner we did rocks you back.
"We had a purple patch but we couldn't sustain it. It's frustrating."
St Helens: Lomax, Makinson, Percival, Jones, Swift, Burns, Wilkin, Amor, Roby, Walmsley, Greenwood, Vea, McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
Replacements: Masoe, Flanagan, Thompson, Richards.
Sin-bin: Amor (60)
Castleford: Tansey, Solomona, Channing, Shenton, Carney, Finn, Gale, Lynch, S. Moore, Millington, O. Holmes, Moors, Massey.
Replacements: Milner, Cook, Boyle, McMeeken.
Referee: Richard Silverwood (RFL)