New signing, Adam Quinlan had a dream debut at fullback for St Helens at Langtree Park on Friday night, when his first-half hat-trick saw the Saints lead Huddersfield Giants by 18 points to 12 at half-time.
But it was Luke Walsh who scored the final, vital point, landing a field-goal two minutes from the end of the game to secure the 35-34 victory and reclaim second place in the Super League table for the Saints.
Defences went walkabout as both sides scored six tries, but that meant the crowd of 11,164 got more than full value for money, from a lively encounter played in perfect conditions.
The Giants were never in front, but they kept drawing level as the game unfolded.
Jack Hughes scored their opening try in response to Quinlan’s first, with Jamie Ellis having taken over the Giants’ kicking duties from Danny Brough. Jermaine McGillvary landed his first in response to Quinlan’s second – which had come after a beautiful, vintage passing movement from St Helens, with Andre Savelio giving the final pass.
Quinlan scored his third when he supported a break by James Roby, and three conversions by Walsh gave St Helens the 18-12 half-time lead.
The Giants were level again in the 45th minute, when Leroy Cudjoe touched down after great work by Hughes and Ellis.
Mark Percival and McGillvary then swapped tries to make the score 24-all, before tries from Joe Greenwood and Percival, with Walsh converting the first, gave St Helens what looked as though it would be a match-winning scoreline of 34-24.
But again the Giants came storming back, with tries from Eorl Crabtree and Aaron Murphy. Crucially though, Ellis could only convert the first to tie the scores at 34-all.
When Percival put the next kick-off out on the full, Danny Brough attempted to convert the penalty from the half-way line, but failed narrowly.
Finally, when Luke Robinson was ruled to have knocked the ball on, St Helens were able to set up Luke Walsh to successfully drop a goal, and secure the winning point in what had been a thrilling game.
A full report and photos from this game will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.