St Helens 18 – 34 Wakefield


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Lewis Murphy led the way with four tries for Wakefield as they became the first team to beat St Helens at home in the Betfred Super League in 2022; Despite the loss, results elsewhere meant Saints were confirmed as finishing top of the table

Last Updated: 29/08/22 8:29pm

Highlights of the Betfred Super League clash between St Helens and Wakefield Trinity.

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Highlights of the Betfred Super League clash between St Helens and Wakefield Trinity.

Highlights of the Betfred Super League clash between St Helens and Wakefield Trinity.

St Helens secured the Betfred Super League Leaders’ Shield for the first time in three years despite suffering their first home defeat of the season as they went down 34-18 against Wakefield Trinity.

Winger Lewis Murphy scored four tries as Wakefield enjoyed their first win at St Helens for five years, with Trinity over overpowering an inexperienced Saints team which included four debutants.

However, the reigning Super League champions still finished top after nearest rivals Wigan Warriors were also beaten at Hull Kingston Rovers.

Story of the game

Young centre Ben Davies scored two of St Helens’ tries with Jon Bennison also touching down, while winger Tommy Makinson kicked three conversions from as many attempts.

Wakefield, who not too long ago looked like relegation candidates, are finishing the season strongly with five wins in their last six games. They dominated the first half and led 24-6 thanks to that hat-trick from Murphy as well as tries from Max Jowitt and Corey Hall. Jowitt and Lee Gaskell also added conversions.

Only nine minutes had been played when Wakefield opened the scoring as Harry Bowes and Bradley Walker combined to send Hall through for a try.

Head coach Kristian Woolf handed debuts to Keane Gilford, Ben Lane, Ellis Archer and Rio Corkill just a few days after St Helens were beaten 30-10 at Wigan Warriors. The hosts were without several key players through injury, while Curtis Sironen and Morgan Knowles missed out through suspension.

Sadiq Adebiyi returned from injury for a first Wakefield appearance since Easter but there was no place for Josh Bowden, David Fifita or Lee Kershaw, with hooker Liam Hood still suspended.

Lewis Murphy was in scintillating form for Wakefield against St Helens

Lewis Murphy was in scintillating form for Wakefield against St Helens

Saints were ahead within five minutes as a worked move at the scrum saw Ben Davies go through after taking the final pass from Daniel Moss. Tommy Makinson’s conversion gave the home side a 6-4 lead.

Murphy’s first try came in the 19th minute as he produced a brilliant acrobatic finish in the corner after taking a pass from Jowitt.

There was no conversion from Jowitt but Wakefield were in again just a few minutes later through the ubiquitous Murphy. A grubber kick by Miller was spilled on the Saints line and the ball landed fortuitously for Murphy, who had the simple task of touching down.

Murphy completed his rapid-fire hat-trick on the half-hour, again producing a spectacular finish in the corner after Miller had linked well with Jowitt to extend Wakefield’s advantage.

St Helens: Tries – Ben Davies (2), Jon Bennison; Goals – Tommy Makinson (3).

Wakefield Trinity: Tries – Lewis Murphy (4), Corey Hall, Lee Gaskell, Max Jowitt; Goals – Lee Gaskell (2), Max Jowitt.

Wakefield's Max Jowitt is tackled by St Helens' James Bell and Tommy Makinson

Wakefield’s Max Jowitt is tackled by St Helens’ James Bell and Tommy Makinson

With eight minutes of the first half remaining, Wakefield scored their fifth try. A superb break from inside his own half by Kyle Evans was well supported by Jowitt and he raced clear to complete a fine move. This time, Lee Gaskell took on the kicking role and was on target to make it 24-6.

Saints made a bright start to the second half as they enjoyed plenty of possession in the Wakefield half but their inability to turn pressure into points was punished.

Murphy broke away on the left edge and – although it looked like he might score his fourth – he unselfishly turned the ball inside to the supporting Gaskell who touched down for a try he also converted.

Davies claimed his and Saints’ second try in the 55th minute as he took a pass from Moss and held off two would-be tackles to score from close range before Makinson added the extras.

St Helens celebrate a try from Jon Bennison

St Helens celebrate a try from Jon Bennison

With news of Wigan’s defeat filtering through to the Saints fans, there was a celebratory mood inside the stadium despite the scoreline and they had more to cheer eight minutes from the end.

Corkill broke through the middle and he turned the ball inside for the supporting Bennison, who raced under the posts for a try which Makinson converted.

As the game entered the final stages, Murphy went in for his fourth try, going in at the corner from close range, but with time almost up, former Saints man Gaskell was sin-binned for obstruction.

What they said

St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf

It’s an outstanding achievement for this group of men [to win the League Leaders’ Shield]. I think with the amount of disruption we’ve had to cope with – and how much of your salary cap is sitting in the grandstand – we make sure they compete every week.

“Credit must go to the young blokes who stepped in following the lead of the more senior players.”

Wakefield Trinity head coach Willie Poching

“Lewis [Murphy] produced some special finishes – some of those tries took some real skill to finish. I think he can go as far as he wants to in this game if he invests his time into learning his craft.

“We’ll take [the win]. It wasn’t by any means the prettiest or flashiest performance. I thought the young fellas from Saints fought hard and were brave. It was difficult at times because we train to play against certain patterns.”

What’s next?

St Helens close out the regular season at home to relegated Toulouse Olympique on Saturday, September 3 (3pm) and will be presented with the League Leaders’ Shield on the same day. Wakefield Trinity travel to a Huddersfield Giants team chasing third place the day before (7.45pm).

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