St Helens had a short turnaround after their World Club Challenge humiliation against South Sydney, but they were too good for an enthusiastic Castleford Tigers, winning 21-14 at Langtree Park.
In a tightly fought first half, Saints took a 10-point lead with tries from wingers Adam Swift and Tommy Makinson, the latter coming after a superb pass by Jonny Lomax.
They extended their lead two minutes into the second half, when Justin Carney had a brain explosion and threw the ball away near his own line, presenting Saints centre Josh Jones with a simple try.
But Carney made amends with two tries in three minutes, the first coming from a Michael Shenton pass and the second from a superb Luke Gale kick to the corner. But Gale could add neither conversion, leaving the Tigers trailing by six.
When Kyle Amor was sinbinned for what appeared to be a crusher tackle on Jordan Tansey, the Tigers may have throught they could equalise the scores. But instead it was Saints who were next to score, as Percival scored from a one-handed offload by Jones.
And Jon Wilkin assured Saints of victory with a drop-goal, although the Tigers replied with two minutes remaining when Tansey caught a superb Gale high kick to the posts to touch down, with Gale’s goal completing the scoring.
A full report, photos and analysis will feature in Monday’s edition of Rugby League Express.