ALLY BARBA RE­PAYS HIS SAINTS PALS

Drug shame Ben re­deems him­self

Daily Mirror - - SPORT - GARETH WALKER

BEN BARBA cut a new style for St He­lens to keep their Grand Fi­nal hopes alive.

The Aussie full-back – who served a 12-match ban af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive for co­caine – had en­dured a stut­ter­ing start to his Saints ca­reer.

A slug­gish dis­play in de­feat at Wake­field left some ques­tion­ing his high-pro­file sign­ing, but he an­swered his crit­ics in style.

The 28-year-old caused the Hud­der­s­field de­fence headaches all night, cre­at­ing a try and bril­liantly scor­ing one.

With Jonny Lo­max look­ing much more at home at stand-off than he did in de­feat to Wi­gan two weeks ago, Saints sud­denly ap­pear much more re­al­is­tic Old Traf­ford con­tenders.

They still have to rely on re­sults else­where this week­end and next, but are now up to fourth and could yet stage an un­likely ti­tle chal­lenge if Barba and Lo­max con­tinue to shine.

Lo­max opened the scor­ing against a flat Gi­ants side when he touched down a clever kick from Danny Richard­son.

Then Barba split the vis­i­tors’ de­fence to send Re­gan Grace over, be­fore Hud­der­s­field’s sole first-half re­sponse through their best player Oliver Roberts.

But they were 18 points adrift at the break as Lo­max dum­mied over for his sec­ond and Mark Per­ci­val strolled through a big hole, slot­ting both con­ver­sions.

Barba was on the score­sheet two min­utes af­ter the restart, dart­ing through a gap and win­ning the race to the cor­ner in a style rem­i­nis­cent of his NRL hey­days.

The game was over as a con­test when Dominique Pey­roux put Ryan Mor­gan in.

Saints eased off in the fi­nal quar­ter, al­low­ing the Gi­ants to add two fur­ther tries through Ryan Hinch­cliffe and Jordan Rankin.

But at the end Louie McCarthy S cars brook had the fi­nal say for Saints – and fo­cus now shifts to Thurs­day’s trip to Sal­ford.

GO JONNY Lo­max touches down at Saints bring the Gi­ants to their knees

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