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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
David Craven

St Helens boss Paul Wellens expresses "relief" at much-needed win

Paul Wellens watched his Super League champions get back to winning ways but admitted: “We need to be better.”

St Helens have not lost three games on the spin since 2017 but came close after another scratchy display against spirited Hull. They were left thankful Brad Dwyer messed up a golden 75th minute chance. Trailing just 16-12, the embarrassed Hull hooker spilled Adam Swift’s perfect grubber with the line begging.

And to rub salt into the wound, St Helens - who’d lost to Leeds and Leigh - immediately marched up the other end to finish them off with Jon Bennison’s second try. Boss Wellens conceded: “There was relief.

“And it is pleasing. We know this game could have gone either way. I’m really proud that after we lost a couple - where we’ve given up a lead - we showed how we could hang in and be resilient. We lost Mark Percival in the warm-up and others in the game but we need that character and showed it. We knew we wouldn’t have an easy ride after Hull’s result last week. But we know we need to get better. Our attacking side needs some work and we're not quite as effective as we'd like at the moment."

It was a third loss on the trot for FC - and a 15th successive defeat against Saints - but their boss Tony Smith took plenty of positives. He dropped Darnell McIntosh and Kane Evans after a humiliating 60-14 home loss to Salford. Davy Litten and Joe Cator came in and the rest were given a chance to redeem themselves.

They did that, even in defeat. Defensively solid for the majority, tackling with real bite, Hull were the better side in the first half with sloppy Saints error-prone. But all their hard work was undone with a momentary lapse, conceding a soft try 84 seconds before the break when Ben Davies claimed Jake Clifford’s ill-conceived short drop-out.

St Helens' Ben Davies scores their first try against Hull FC (Martin Rickett/PA Wire.) (PA)

Hull’s ex-England prop Scott Taylor barged over in the 48th minute. Clifford slotted the first of his two goals for a 6-4 advantage. But Saints hit back with two tries in five minutes from Bennison and, on his 22nd birthday, Jack Welsby. Joey Lussick converted both before Clifford immediately replied after Curtis Sironen spilled in the restart set to get Hull close again.

Cameron Scott just failed with an intercept chance before Dwyer’s glorious opportunity. Smith said: “It was drastically different to last week. We had to go prove a bit to ourselves and we did. We were a bit unlucky. It’s fine margins. Cameron Scott snipped his nails just before the game. If he’d not, he might have got it.

“Brad’s fumble close to the line, had he just dived he’d have slid in. But for effort and commitment everyone saw that. There’s some great signs.”

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