St Helens 30-16 Huddersfield Giants

Mark Percival

Mark Percival scored two of St Helens’ five tries against Huddersfield

St Helens began the Super League season with a five-try home win over Huddersfield Giants at Langtree Park.

Centre Mark Percival crossed twice for the 2014 champions, who were beaten in the semi-finals of both Super League and the Challenge Cup last season.

Atelea Vea, Jordan Turner and Luke Thompson also went over for the hosts, with former Hull FC player Turner scoring the 100th try of his career.

Huddersfield replied through Aaron Murphy, Ukuma Ta’ai and Jake Connor.

In tricky wet conditions, Saints avoided a repeat of the 40-4 humbling by the Giants on the opening day of the 2013 season.

But their win was tempered by the loss of influential hooker James Roby to a shoulder problem midway through the second half.

Huddersfield also lost key players to injury, with captain Danny Brough and full-back Scott Grix both failing to complete the match.

Giants coach Paul Anderson had been unable to select Joe Wardle, Craig Huby, Kyle Wood and Luke Robinson because of injuries.

St Helens head coach Keiron Cunningham: “The halves were brilliant and Luke Thompson changed the game when he came on. He was phenomenal.

“Atelea Vea also played the full 80 minutes straight and I’m pleased all over. Defensively we were very good and we played the conditions really well.

“We looked comfortable for a large part of the game.”

Huddersfield head coach Paul Anderson: “The effort and endeavour was very good, considering the youth out there.

“We were masters of our own downfall with penalties and errors, but Sam Rapira was outstanding and caused a lot of problems.

“The difference was Luke Walsh’s kicking game and he played as though he was in a dinner jacket. The first half was very even, although the scoreline may show otherwise.”

St Helens: Owens; Makinson, Peyroux, Percival, Swift; Turner, Walsh; Amor, Roby, Tasi, Wilkin, Vea, McCarthy-Scarsbrook.

Replacements: Walmsley, Richards, Savelio, Thompson.

Huddersfield: Grix; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Connor, Murphy; Brough, Ellis; Rapira, Hinchcliffe, Crabtree, Ta’ai, Lawrence, Patrick.

Replacements: Smith, J. Johnson, Leeming, Roberts.

Referee: Robert Hicks

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