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St Helens rally to end losing run against Catalans

Sione Mata'utia  scores for St Helens
Sione Mata'utia dived over to put St Helens ahead two minutes into the second half [Getty Images]

Betfred Super League

St Helens (6) 24

Tries: Hurrell, Mata'utia, Makinson, Lees Goals: Percival 4

Catalans (6) 12

Tries: Johnstone, Bousquet Goals: Mourgue 2

Super League leaders St Helens came from behind to end their five-game losing streak against Catalans Dragons in a full-blooded physical encounter.

Sam Johnstone gave the visitors an early lead and Dragons bossed much of the first half without adding to their advantage.

Konrad Hurrell crossed to make the score level at the break, but after the interval Saints turned the tide as Sione Mata'utia, Tommy Makinson and Matty Lees all crossed while Mark Percival kicked four goals.

Julian Bousquet plunged over in the closing stages to give Catalans hope but Saints finished the bruising encounter the stronger to beat their opponents for the first time since April 2022.

After a dominant start, Johnstone gathered a grubber kick to the corner from Jordan Abdull to touch down his sixth try of the season on 10 minutes and silence the home crowd, with Arthur Mourgue adding the extras for a 6-0 lead.

Dragons dominated possession in the opening 20 minutes but could not fashion any more clear-cut chances.

Saints got on the board on the half-hour when they spread the ball to the right and Jack Welsby offloaded to Tongan centre Hurrell to dot down, with Percival's goal making it 6-6 at half-time.

A high tackle on George Delaney with a swinging arm from Franck Maria sparked a melee after the restart and earned Maria a yellow card.

Saints were boosted by the return off the bench of Agnatius Paasi from 10 months out injured but Hurrell had to battle through an ankle injury suffered moments later.

The hosts went ahead two minutes into the second half when Lewis Dodd chased his own kick forward and clawed the ball back into the arms of Mata'utia to go over for the third straight game, allowing Percival to slot his side 12-6 ahead.

Maria returned from the bin two minutes later but Makinson extended the lead after another devastating break to the right. Welsby cleverly burst through and drew his man before sending Makinson over in the corner.

Percival added another fine goal from the whitewash before the clincher arrived 15 minutes from time when Lees chased a close-range kick under the posts to ground his first try of the season

Bousquet crashed over to narrow the gap with six minutes remaining but Saints held firm to move two points above defending champions Wigan, although Warriors have two games in hand.

St Helens: Welsby; Makinson, Hurrell, Percival, Blake; Mbye, Dodd;, Delaney, Clark, Lees, Sironen, Mata'utia, Bell.

Interchanges: Paasi, Davies, Royle, Stephens, Bennison.

Catalans: Rouge; Davies, Ikuvalu, Laguerre, Johnstone, Fages; Abdull; Navarrete, Mourgue, Dezaria, Sims, Bousquet, Garcia.

Interchanges: Nikorima, Satae, Castano, Maria, Yaha.

Referee: Aaron Moore.