Zeb Taia bagged a brace as Saints continued their good form with a 26-12 win over Hull FC.
He took his season’s tally to six whilst Mark Percival and Luke Thompson both added four-pointers to lift Saints clear at the top of the table.
It brought Justin Holbrook’s side their third win in eight days – but more importantly proved they could once again cope with adversity.
Ben Barba was ruled out with illness in the build up to the game – James Roby injured in the second half.
Saints dominated the first half and probably should have been further ahead than 6-0 at oranges.
After Jonny Lomax went close on an arcing run, Theo Fages chipped over to the charging Taia who made no mistake in plucking it out of the air to get Saints on the board.
Richardson added the extras before, on 15 minutes, Hull had one chalked off for a knock on.
Saints had dominated up until that point but back to back penalties had allowed the visitors the chance to build pressure.
Holbrook’s men defended their lines desperately and won a drop out, but Lomax couldn’t take Roby’s bullet pass to increase the lead.
Up the other end of the field, Jordan Lane lost the ball over the line on the half hour mark and then a group tackle forced the ball out of the grasp of Jake Connor as the half came to a close.
Saints extended their lead just two minutes into the second half.
After Hull knocked on following Fages’ tricky kick to the corner, the ball came right from the scrum and Lomax caught Percival on a fantastic line.
Richardson added the conversion and then tagged on a penalty on 50 minutes after Connor was caught for lifting.
Hull did get on the scoreboard ten minutes later – Albert Kelly taking probably the most forward pass you will ever see to get his side back into it.
Thompson had one chalked off for a knock-on on 60 minutes- but Taia grabbed his second seven minutes later when Smith and Fages combined on the last.
Thompson finally got the nod from the video referee after great work from LMS as the game entered its final stages before Chris Green crossed for a scant consolation.
Justin Holbrook was happy as Saints recorded their third win in eight days to go six points clear at the top of the Betfred Super League.
Zeb Taia scored a brace as they beat Hull 26-12.
“I thought we played really well and it was a good win,” he said. “When you play your third game in eight days, you need everyone to play well and I thought they did that. All our forwards were really strong. To ask them to do what they have done already and do it in the fashion they did, was fantastic.
“It was a good sign from our boys that after a tough Friday they wanted to back up on Monday and then come through one more tough assignment tonight.
“I’m proud of them.
“Hull are a very dangerous side and they never went away. They have real strike. They scored against the run of play when we could have dropped on the ball – but a bit of NFL, then Tom Brady threw the pass…. but we held on in there.”
He continued: “James Roby is sore – it could be a rib or rib cartilage, which is always painful. It’s too early to tell but it would be a big ask to back up next week, although we do have a nine-day turnaround. Matty Smith was excited to get the opportunity and I thought he went well for us.
“He only found out he would play after lunch today. Ben (Barba) was ill and could have played but it was a good sign for the rest of the team to play as well as they did with the disruption.
“That is real credit to the players.”
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) 6 April 2018
Tries: Taia (2), Percival, Thompson
Goals: Richardson (5 from 5)
Tries: Kelly, Green
Goals: Sneyd (2 from 2)
Hull FC: 5
REF: R Hicks
1. Jonny Lomax; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 19. Regan Grace; 6. Theo Fages, 18. Danny Richardson; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Dom Peyroux, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin.
Subs: 7. Matty Smith, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles.
1. Jamie Shaul; 24. Jack Logan, 4. Josh Griffin, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 5. Fetuli Talanoa; 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd; 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 23. Mickey Paea, 17. Danny Washbrook, 26. Jordan Lane, 20. Brad Fash.
Subs: 13. Josh Bowden, 14. Jake Connor, 15. Chris Green, 16. Jordan Abdull.