Champions St Helens, seeking a fourth straight title under Australian coach Kristian Woolf, have overcame a snowstorm and 12-man Hull to continue their imperious start to the Super League season with a 38-6 away victory.
England centre Mark Percival scored his 100th try for Saints as they took advantage of the 30th-minute dismissal of Hull captain Luke Gale on his home debut on Saturday to romp to a second consecutive comprehensive win – a 12th in a row over the Black and Whites.
The game was a tribute to Hull’s all-time great Johnny Whiteley, the former Ashes-winning Great Britain coach who died this week at the age of 91, but in dreadful conditions it made for low-key entertainment.
“They were tough conditions, there’s no doubt about that,” Woolf said of the snowstorm.
“It was freezing cold and some of our blokes at halftime were shivering.
“I thought we still played some good footy in the conditions so I’m really happy overall. I thought we handled it really well.”
Hull, having been guided by their own Aussie coach Brett Hodgson to a promising opening-round win at Wakefield, were already trailing 14-0 when Gale was sent off for catching Jonny Lomax on the knee with his studs after the Saints stand-off had kicked the ball.
It was the fourth red card nine matches into the new season, while referee Chris Kendall also issued a yellow to Hull centre Connor Wynne for a dangerous tackle on Jack Welsby.
With a numerical advantage for an hour, it was simply a stroll in the park for Woolf’s men.
Winger Josh Simm, deputising for the injured Will Hopoate, was the chief beneficiary as he crossed unopposed for two of his side’s six tries before halftime and had another disallowed for a forward pass.
Sione Mata’utia, the former Newcastle Knights’ second rower, also slid over for a score for the Saints, who are now one of four teams who have a 100% record after the first two matches alongside Huddersfield Giants, Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves.
Huddersfield maintained their perfect start with Chris McQueen scoring two tries in their 26-12 win over Hull KR on Saturday while Catalan Dragons had to work hard to earn their first win of the season 24-22 against Wakefield Trinity.