THIS year’s Super League Magic was a gift to St Helens – a short trip down the East Lancs Road and a perfect stage for the club to showcase their talents on one of the biggest, most iconic venues in the north west region.

Those thousands of Saints fans that made the trip, and sang with gusto on the Kop, lapped it up as the men in the red vee turned on the style.

The players certainly did not look this gift horse in the mouth – and all of those will get a buzz from putting this sort of performance that was as controlled and methodical as it was dazzling.

It was certainly a marker for the next big occasions – hopefully – when Saints set foot on neutral turf.

St Helens Star:

After three performances in which they have managed to win, despite the odd wobble, this was altogether a more complete performance with no little polish on the ends of it.

Despite not touching the ball for the first three sets, Saints withstood the early pressure and countered with a clinical ruthlessness.

Nothing summed that up more than the opening try, when Saints turned defence into attack with centre Kevin Naiqama plucking the ball out of the air with a timely intercept to gallop downfield. Although he could not find Tommy Makinson inside, there was no panic as the defence scrambled across, with the Fijian test skipper opting to take the tackle on the touchline.

This allowed Theo Fages and Lachlan Coote to calmly go to work to engineer the space for Makinson to continue his Anfield love-in.

Coach Justin Holbrook was keen not to single out individuals – it was indeed a whole team effort – but there were key performers starting in the middle with the bullocking runs of colossus Alex Walmsley constantly set up the platform for skipper James Roby and the halves to scheme from.

Saints ended their sets much better than of late, allowing them to turn the screw and put the Cas line under pressure.

And when they moved the ball it was not simply about the finishers – and there were a couple Chris Joynt-esque touches from Zeb Taia for the scores by Regan Grace and Coote.

The only time Saints did slightly wobble was the patch that coincided with James Roby’s spell in the sin-bin just before the break, with Grant Millington crossing.

For a good chunk of the second half Saints continued to defend as if it were 0-0, although they did allow Cas two consolation scores in the closing 10 minutes when the game was done and dusted.

After plenty of pre-match grumbling, particularly among those pining for Newcastle, plenty left Anfield with a smile on their faces.

St Helens Star:

And hopefully, any inquisitive Merseyside-based neutrals watching will have been so impressed by the entertainment value offered by Saints and will be beating a path the opposite direction down the Lancs in the months to come.

Saints: Coote; Makinson, Naiqama, Costello, Grace; Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Taia, Peyroux, Knowles. Subs: Paulo, Ashworth, Smith, Bentley.

Castleford: Mata’utia; Clare, Minikin, Blair, Eden; Trueman, Aston; Watts, McShane, Smith, Millington, McMeeken, Milner. Subs: Cook, Maher, Rankin, Clarkson.