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Lance Hohaia and James Roby sparkle as St Helens crush Huddersfield Giants
St Helens 46 Huddersfield 12
LANCE Hohaia and James Roby were at their inventive best as Saints ran in eight tries to record a convincing victory.
Hohaia, the Kiwi stand off, backed up an impressive display in Catalans last week, by taking the man of the match award at Langtree Park following an opening half hour in which the home side ran in five tries.
The half back, criticised by some supporters earlier in the season, appears to be playing with greater confidence and directness, epitomised by the show and go that yielded Saints’ fourth try.
“Lance Hohaia is an international footballer of high quality. He took his try really well and he’s fixing defenders in the middle,“ said the Saints coach Mike Rush, whose team recorded a sixth victory in succession and moved back above Catalans into third place in the Super League table.
“He was man of the match for Sky in Catalans last week and was the club man of the match tonight. He’s in good form.”
If it was the stand off who impressed early on, then it was the magnificent Roby, who caught the eye in the second half.
After a free scoring opening 40 minutes, which left Saints 28-12 ahead at the interval, there was no change for some 20 minutes until Roby burst into life.
Firstly, the hooker dummied out of acting half back before slipping an inside pass that sent Anthony Laffranchi through a gaping hole around the tryline.
He then went on a 40metre charge to the line for trademark try that was all his own making, before he supplied the pass that sent skipper Paul Wellens over for the evening's final try.
Rush added: “James is a hell of a player, who is consistently outstanding every week.
“I’ve said it previously, he and Cameron Smith are the best two hookers in the world.
“The try (scored by Anthony Laffranchi) was one off the training ground, so fair play to the boys on that one. I think Kez (Keiron Cunningham, the assistant coach) took great joy in that.”
Tommy Makinson was another to enjoy an impressive night's work, finishing with 18points, courtesy of a try and seven conversions.
It was the young winger's try that started the scoring, as he showed strength and balance to absorb the tackle of Luke George and force the ball down with one hand.
Jonny Lomax also registered a try during the early burst as he exchanged passes with Chris Flannery before dashing beneath the posts.
Francis Meli gave another example of ruthless finishing as he barged through two covering tacklers to score his 14th of the season.
It was Josh Perry of all players who provided the pass to the Samoan wing after Paul Wellens had followed up a Jon Wilkin bomb.
Keith Mason did respond with a try against his former club but Hohaia then ghosted over for his solo effort and Louie McCarthy Scarsbrook wrestled the ball down for Saints' fifth inside 27 minutes.
The Giants did score another, when the impressive Scott Grix darted under the posts after a Danny Brough kick had taken a wicked bounce.
But despite Huddersfield’s new coach, Paul Anderson, believing at half time that his team was capable of turning around an 16-point deficit they were met by a disciplined opponents who were in no mood for dropping their guard, particularly with a player like Roby in their ranks.