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Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Sunday, 28 March 2010 16:51 UK

Huddersfield Giants 6-24 St Helens

Huddersfield (0) 6
Tries: Grix Goals: B Hodgson

St Helens (10) 24
Tries: Meli 2, Graham, Eastmond Goals: Eastmond 4

Francis Meli
Francis Meli took his season's haul to seven tries for Saints

Two tries in the first 10 minutes from winger Francis Meli set up St Helens for a third straight Super League win.

After trailing 10-0 at half-time, Scott Grix gave Huddersfield hope with his fourth try of the season, converted by Brett Hodgson to make it 10-6.

But Kyle Eastmond kicked a penalty, then added the extras for James Graham's clinching 66th minute try.

And Eastmond himself crossed to seal victory two minutes from time, taking his individual haul to 10 points.

That lifted Saints above Huddersfield to third in the Super League table.

The Yorkshire side's recent success has been built on impressive defence. But it was Saints who held firm to condemn Nathan Brown's men to a third defeat - and raise new question marks over the Giants' title pedigree.

Not even debutant Danny Brough could find a way through the rock-like defence as Saints set themselves up nicely for this week's Good Friday clash with leaders Wigan.

But victory might have come at a cost, young centre Gary Wheeler having sustained a deep wound in his shin when he crashed into an advertising hoarding.

Rampaging Saints forwards Tony Puletua and Graham laid the platform, with Leon Pryce causing all sorts of problems despite being switched to full-back for the injured Paul Wellens.

Mick Potter's men used a stiff breeze at their backs to establish a 10-0 half-time lead courtesy of a brace of tries from left winger Meli.

A clever switch of direction by the creative Eastmond set up the first, before Graham's blockbusting charge unleashed Wheeler, Meli taking his inside pass to claim a second try.

That was the signal for Giants coach Brown to send on new signing Brough and Huddersfield gradually worked their way back into it.

Winger David Hodgson got over only to be recalled for a forward pass and utility man Luke Robinson also crossed the line but was unable to ground the ball.

They finally broke their deadlock when substitute Scott Grix took Kevin Brown's high pass to cross in the corner, Hodgson's touchline conversion cutting the gap to just four points.

But that rapidly became six when Eastmond kicked a 54th minute penalty after Bryn Hargreaves had been tackled high.

And Saints made sure of victory when Graham forced his way over from close range for a richly-deserved try, Eastmond putting the finishing touches with an excellent late opportunist try.

Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown said:

"We just weren't quite good enough. But I don't think the scoreline was indicative of the game. It was a bit closer than that.

"Too many people wanted to blame the ref instead of getting their own game in order. If we get our game in order, we are hard to beat.

"Danny Brough is definitely going to be a positive influence. But it's going to take time for the team to get used to playing with him."

St Helens coach Mick Potter said:

"It was good to come here and get the two points. Huddersfield made it very difficult for us.

"It was a big test, especially with the wind against us in the second half, and I thought we hung in very well when they put us under a lot of pressure.

"Gary Wheeler's was a very nasty cut, right to the bone. You wouldn't want to look at it if you didn't have to.

"There were quite a few stitches - internally and externally - but the doctor did a good job to get him back on and his ball steal on Andy Raleigh could have been a turning point."

Huddersfield: B Hodgson, Lolesi, Wild, Whaturia, D Hodgson, Brown, Robinson, D Griffin, Lunt, Raleigh, Gilmour, Patrick, Faiumu.
Replacements: Crabtree, Brough, Grix, Aspinwall.

St Helens: Eastmond, Gardner, Gidley, Wheeler, Meli, Pryce, Moore, Graham, Cunningham, Puletua, Flannery, Clough, Wilkin.
Replacements: Fa'asavalu, Hargreaves, Roby, Dixon.

Referee: Thierry Alibert (Toulouse).

Attendance: 9,648.

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see also
Harlequins 18-32 Huddersfield
20 Mar 10 |  My Club
St Helens 28-18 Warrington
19 Mar 10 |  My Club
Rugby League on the BBC
15 Oct 10 |  Rugby League

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