If Friday the thirteenth didn´t give Hull FC a sense of foreboding, then meeting St Helens the week after they were eliminated from the Challenge Cup at the semi-final stage to archrivals Wigan Warriors would have filled them with fear as they braced themselves for the inevitable backlash.
Despite Saints needing the points to extend their lead at the top to two points, the bookies only gave the Airlie Birds a ten-point start in the handicap coupon, recognising that there was plenty of motivation for the visitors to regain the fourth spot that they gave up last night to the Giants and stay in touch with the top two.
There was no denying that it was an intriguing fixture on paper but always with a chance that Saints would run away with it as they looked to get last weekend out of their systems.
There was a long stoppage after just three minutes as Brad Fash was helped from the field after he got on the way of a ferocious run from Matty Lees.
On six minutes Saints went in for their opening try as Tommy Makinson found the smallest of gaps to take a Konrad Hurrell pass and run three metres to ground. The Saints top scorer couldn´t convert his own try but Saints were off and running.
But the home side couldn´t build on their lead in a disjointed period of the game and then, just before the half hour, Darnell McIntosh chased down a Jake Connor kick to the corner to collect and ground to open the scoring for FC. The conversion went wide, the sides all square at 4-4.
Twenty seconds of the half remained when Jack Welsby reversed his way over the line and forced the ball to ground under the tackle to regain the lead. Makinson added the conversion for a 10-4 half time lead.
A scrappy tackle from James Bell saw the Saints substitute sin binned on forty-four but two minutes later it was the twelve men who thought they had scored, but the video referee saw a knock-on in the build-up as Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook went up for a Jonny Lomax high kick.
A Makinson penalty on fifty-three, after Jake Connor failed to cover ten metres with his goal line drop-out, extended the Saints lead to 12-4.
A fantastic break from Hurrell on fifty-eight found Lomax in support to ghost past the FC defence and go over under the posts. Makinson added the conversion for 18-4, Saints two points clear at the top of Super League as they banish the memories of last weekend.
It was all too easy for Saints as they kept the ball alive on sixty-seven with Hurrell putting in the final pass to Hurrell to go over just in from the right corner flag. Makinson converted his own try for 24-4.
Some late consolation for FC on seventy-four with McIntosh finding the space wide right to reach down and score one-handed from ten metres out. Connor converted from the touchline and Hull hit double figures.
After grinding out the first half hour against a dogged Hull FC defence, and being somewhat lucky to snatch the lead before the interval, the second half was all Saints and they never looked in any danger of letting the two points slip. It was a return to form after a couple of disappointing weeks as the onus of the season shifts from the cup to the league and retaining their Champions status in 2022.
St Helens: Welsby (T), Makinson (2T, 4G), Hurrell, Mata´utia, Percival, Davies, Lomax (T), Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Sironen, Batchelor, Knowles. Subs: Lussick, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paasi, Bell (SB on 44).
Hull FC: Connor (G), Shaul, Wynne, Tuimavave, McIntosh (2T), Reynolds, Lovodua, Sao, Houghton, Taylor, Lane, Ma´u, Fash. Subs: Brown, Griffin, Johnstone, Satae.
Score Progression: 4-0, 4-4, 8-4, 10-4 : HT : (SB), 12-4, 16-4, 18-4, 22-4, 24-4, 24-8, 24-10 : FT.
Referee: Jack Smith.