St Helens winger Tommy Makinson moves into ‘best of all time’ conversation after milestone tries

Tommy Makinson of St. Helens. Image: Jess Hornby/Getty ImagesTommy Makinson of St. Helens. Image: Jess Hornby/Getty Images
Tommy Makinson of St. Helens. Image: Jess Hornby/Getty Images
The winger scored two tries as Saints beat Wakefield Trinity to heat up the battle to claim top spot in Super League.

The race for top spot in the Betfred Super League is still in the lap of the gods and likely to go down to the wire.

Since the play-off format was first used in 1998 to determine the Grand Final winners, the quest for a qualifying position has produced some nerve-tingling finales but nothing to remotely match this season’s bid for glory with only three matches of the regular season remaining for all 12 clubs.

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Wigan Warriors moved to the top of the tree on Friday after a home win over Salford Red Devils, while former leaders Catalans Dragons dropped points against Hull KR on the same night.

It left Saints knowing that a setback against bottom of the table Wakefield Trinity at Belle Vue on Sunday afternoon would damage their chances of earning a top two berth and home tie in the semi-final of the competition, but a 32-16 victory in West Yorkshire ensured they held on to third place with 34 points - the same total as the Warriors and the French side who both, significantly, have a better for and against  record than the defending champions.

Saints didn’t have matters all their way east of the Pennines but it was the quality of their finishing which proved decisive at the end of 80 minutes with winger Tommy Makinson’s double a key element.

Tommy Makinson of St. Helens. Image: Jess Hornby/Getty ImagesTommy Makinson of St. Helens. Image: Jess Hornby/Getty Images
Tommy Makinson of St. Helens. Image: Jess Hornby/Getty Images

England international Makinson also climbed above Leon Pryce and into seventh on the list of all-time Super League try-scorers with 174. Makinson’s brace continued his outstanding recent form which has seen him touch down 10 times in his last five games.

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Head coach Paul Wellens said: “Tommy is the type of player who I love seeing play with a smile on his face. He wasn’t doing that for a few weeks, but he is now and when Tommy enjoys his rugby, it reflects in his performances and I think that’s what we’re seeing.

“He’s a few tries behind me, but he’s scored his in a lot quicker time. When you talk about Super League’s best wingers of all time, he’s in that conversation now.

“There are no signs of Tommy letting up and he will continue to climb that list. We all love him and it’s great to see him do well.”

Wellens added: "I’m delighted to get another win and continue the run of form that we’re in, but there were some parts of the game where I think, down the track if we are to achieve what we want to achieve, we need to be better.

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"There are some lessons to be learned, but this is a difficult place to come, particularly when you face a team desperate and fighting for their lives.  So I’m really pleased that, despite not being at our best in certain areas, we were still able to get a positive result.

"There’s many teams that if they came here today and coughed up the amount of possession that we did, particularly coming out of our own end, then they would find it very difficult to get a result so there’s a lot to like in the way we dug deep for each other.

  • Wakefield: Dagger, Senior, Franco, Croft, Kershaw, Lino, Gale, Bowden, Hood, Atoni, Ashurst, Griffin, Pitts.
  • Interchanges: Kay, Battye, Fifita, Eseh.
  • Tries - Trinity: Ashurst (7 mins), Kershaw ( 46 and 78). Conversions: Dagger, Lino.
  • St Helens: Welsby, Makinson, Hurrell, Percival, Bennison, Lomax, Dodd, Lees, Roby, Delaney, Mata’utia, Batchelor, Bell.
  • Tries - Saints: Lomax (2 mins), Makinson (18,50), Roby (24), Bennison (38), Dodd(55).
  • Goals: Percival (4,35, 52,56).
  • Interchanges: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Norman, Royle, Mbye.
  • Referee: Marcus Griffiths.

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