Saints too strong for sluggish Dragons

The 2020 Betfred Super League season restarted with the Catalans Dragons facing the reigning Champions St Helens at Headingley, with James Graham back in the red V.

The Dragons looked to be the first to make the most of the new rules as a set restart, followed by a penalty gave James Maloney the chance to organise an attack.

However, Tom Davies was bundled into touch by Mark Percival and Regan Grace.

James Maloney was penalised in the 12th minute after tackling Morgan Knowles off the ball.

This allowed for the first long break in play as Lachlan Coote set up for a kick at goal and give Saints an early lead.

In the 15th minute, Coote grabbed himself a four-pointer but he had to give thanks to Zeb Taia.

Thor Fages took the ball to the line and pushed the ball to Taia who noticed a gap on his inside so tapped the ball to Coote in support, who was to strong for the tackle of Arthur Mourge and stretched over.

Ten minutes later, the Saints extended their lead.

An opportunistic kick back against the grain and down the short side from Lachlan Coote was weighted perfectly for James Bentley to beat Fouad Yaha to the ball and ground the loose ball.

The Dragons also found themselves down to 16 fit players after Michael McIlorum failed his head injury assessment just before the half-hour mark.

Taia then turned scorer after assisting the first try.

Jonny Lomax gathered the ball at first receiver, stepped across James Maloney and pushed a pass to the second-rower and run around the in-goal to dot down.

Catalans got to within inches through Israel Folau, but the end of the set resulted in a 50-metre break from Mark Percival, followed by an extra 20-metres from Toby, to push the French side back inside their own half.

HALF-TIME: St Helens 16-0 Catalans Dragons

It took Saints just five minutes of the second half to extend their lead.

An inside ball from Jonny Lomax allowed Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook to break 20-metres, pass left to Taia who then offloaded to Lachlan Coote to score his second of the evening.

The clinical finishing from Saints continued in the 53rd minute, as Toby, Fages and Coote combined to shift the ball to Tommy Makinson on the right edge.

With space running out, Makinson cut back across the defence and managed to weave his way through and score.

On the hour mark, the Dragons finally got on the hour mark, as James Maloney collected the ball out the back, and spotted a gap to walk through untouched and score under the posts.

With ten minutes to go, Alex Walmsley got himself on the score sheet.

He pushed off Julien Bousquet and beat Mourgue’s attempted tackle and powered over to score.

The Saints would have the ball in the final seconds but the play came to nothing on the halfway line and they secured a comfortable two points.

FULL-TIME: St Helens 34-6 Catalans Dragons


Squads


St Helens

Coote, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Fages, Lomax, Walmsley, Roby, Graham, Taia, Bentley, Knowles

Interchanges: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Smith, Batchelor

Tries: Coote (2), Bentley, Taia, Makinson, Walmsley

Goals: Coote (5/7)


Catalans Dragons

Mourgue, Davies, Langi, Folau, Yaha, Maloney, Drinkwater, Casty, McIlorum, Bousquet, J. Tomkins, Whitley, Garcia

Interchanges: Moa, Da Costa, Baitieri, Kasiano

Tries: Maloney

Goals: Maloney (1/1)


Referee: B. Thaler

Touch Judges: L. Moore, M. Craven

Video Referee: J. Child


Image Source: @Saints1890 (twitter)

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