St Helens 29-6 Salford: Champions get off to a flying start as they start defending their Betfred Super League title with a convincing win on Friday night
- The Super League season started behind closed doors in Headingley
- Salford made five players debut and St Helens showed their class
- Visitors stayed in the fight in the early stages, but St Helens then drove off
St Helens ran in five tries as they kicked off their Betfred Super League title defense with the win over Salford.
The 2021 season started behind closed doors in Headingley with a replay of the 2019 Grand Final and the same result as Saints sentenced their former assistant coach Richard Marshall to defeat in his first game as Red Devils boss.
Salford, who had five players to make their debut, trailed only 13-6 until the champion let go with three tries in the last quarter.
St Helens claimed victory in their first game of the season against Salford at Headingley
Saints coach Kristian Woolf made his debut to all three of his overseas signings, Joel Thompson, Sione Mata’utia and Agnatius Paasi, although his involvement was limited by a head knock.
St Helens made the perfect start with right winger Tom Makinson outwitting Krisnan Inu to take Theo Fages’ precise kick in the corner to score Super League XXVI’s first try just two minutes into the season.
Makinson took on the goalkicking duties in Lachlan Coote’s absence and landed the sideline conversion to make it 6-0.
As Fages and Jonny Lomax orchestrated the attacking threats from Saints, the champions piled on the pressure and Makinson (right) extended the lead with a penalty.
Then six minutes before halftime, Kallum Watkins made a mistake when Lomax shot a loose ball after Kallum Watkins lost possession in his own 20-meter area and left winger Regan Grace got his team and 20-year-old Jack Makinson for the second try. could not add the goal this time, but Welsby pushed his team further forward with a first Super League goal.
Salford had their moments, with the ever-green Kevin Brown penetrating and urging, but they lacked composure at the line and made too many handling errors to subject the Saints’ defense to sustained pressure.
Kevin Neiqama was one of the host’s try scorers, taking a comfortable win
St Helens lost Paasi within a minute of the restart after knocking himself out in an attempt to stop Salford powerhouse Pauli Pauli and St Helens’ hold on the game was briefly threatened when the Red Devils made their only attempt to grab.
Salford drew the Saints’ defenders to the center and Tui Lolohea’s long pass allowed Ken Sio to cross unimpeded for an attempt that converted Krisnan Inu to make it 13-6.
However, Saints were never seriously threatened after that, and Mark Percival jumped high to take another Fages kick and score his first try since the 2019 Grand Final.
Percival’s celebrations were short lived as he stumbled off the field shortly thereafter, but Makinson’s third goal restored his side’s two-point advantage and – when Marshall’s men were tired – Saints turned on the style.
Center Kevin Naiqama fell to a handling foul by Inu to score a fourth attempt and Alex Walmsley stormed on for a solo score to wrap things up, with Makinson bringing his goal to four out of six tries.