|St Helens (22) 34|
|Tries: Welsby 3, Coote, Knowles, Batchleor Goals: Coote 5|
|Hull FC (4) 16|
|Tries: Swift, Fonua 2 Goals: Sneyd 2|
Jack Welsby scored a hat-trick of tries as St Helens recovered from their first loss of the season to beat Hull FC.
Defending champions Saints got going early when Welsby went in at the corner and Lachlan Coote crossed soon after.
Adam Swift cut the deficit but Morgan Knowles and Welsby’s second put the hosts firmly in control at the break.
Welsby completed his hat-trick before Mahe Fonua got Hull back in it, but Joe Batchelor’s first of the season ensured a hard-fought win for the hosts.
St Helens got off to an ideal start when Hull misread Coote’s opening kick allowing the hosts to regain the ball on halfway.
Despite the lack of talismanic winger Regan Grace, who missed out due to a knock picked up in their defeat by Catalans last time around, Saints did not take long to get off the mark.
Within just three minutes, Welsby used Saints’ advantage when he worked onto Jonny Lomax’s pass to race in at the corner and it was a lead the hosts never lost.
The victory means St Helens bounce back from their defeat in Perpignan and win the first of two consecutive meetings with Hull ahead of next week’s Challenge Cup semi-final in Leigh.
St Helens boss Kristian Woolf:
“I was particularly happy with the first half tonight – we had a different energy about us. We wanted to work hard and had a better mindset than last week.
“What we did tonight was get back to the standards we set at the start of the season. We have got plenty of improvement left in us. I am happy with the performance but we can still improve and improve a lot.
“Jack [Welsby] is just a good footy player. Wherever he puts himself on the field he is an exceptional player and I love his ability to rise to the challenge, wherever we play him.”
Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson:
“We didn’t start the game with enough intent. Saints are a big powerful team and you can’t let them get on top of you. I felt they had more energy and showed more effort. There are lessons to learn.
“I was proud of the effort and the willingness to fight in the second half of the game. Ultimately it was too little too late.
“We effectively beat ourselves tonight. I know that this playing group care and they will be hurting and they will try and respond [in next week’s Challenge Cup semi-final].
St Helens: Coote, Naiqama, Simm, Percival, Welsby, Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Thompson, Mata’utia, Knowles.
Interchanges: Amor, Paasi, Batchelor, Dodd.
Hull FC: Connor, Fonua, Tuimavave, Griffin, Swift, Reynolds, Sneyd, Sao, Houghton, Satae, Lane, Ma’u, Cator.
Interchanges: Johnstone, Fash, Brown, Bowden.