By Trevor Baxter
Full-back Jake Mamo suffered a game to forget as Huddersfield Giants slumped to a first home defeat of the Betfred Super League season.
Visitors Saints are many pundits’ early-season silverware contenders and they remain top of the pile after a third successive victory.
But Aussie ace Mamo gave them a helping hand with a key error in each half that cost two of St Helens’ four tries.
Both sides kicked off with the benefit of an extra week off since their respective previous games against Warrington and Catalans Dragons.
And that lay-off allowed Jermaine McGillvary to finally recover from a knee problem that delayed his entry into the new season.
England’s World Cup superstar probably wished he hadn’t bothered, receiving precious little service on a bitterly cold night at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The Giants looked to have struck first only for Jordan Rankin’s celebration to be cut short by an offside call in the build-up.
Saints celebrated their reprieve by scoring in their first sustained attack after eight minutes.
Try scorer Jon Wilkin swapped passes with Kyle Amor in front of the home posts and the one-time England captain touched down for Danny Richardson to goal with those eight minutes on the clock.
Led by Brough’s promptings, the Giants forced Saints into three goal line dropouts before eventually turning pressure into points.
Lee Gaskell, one of three former Saints in the home line-up, was held up by Mark Percival’s last-ditch tackle.
But Brough wouldn’t be denied, side stepping inside lumbering Luke Douglas after 20 minutes for a try he also improved to make it 6-6.
Saints obviously expected a close encounter with Richardson kicking a 29th-minute penalty to make it 8-6.
Giants were clearly of a similar mind with Brough stroking over a 38th-minute penalty following play the ball interference by Alex Walmsley.
That should have made it eight apiece at the break. Instead, Mamo spilled Richardson’s re-start and several tackles from the scrum James Roby scooted over from dummy half for the visitors’ second try.
Richardson added the goal and Saints held a 14-8 lead, arguably against the run of play.
But two soft tries in three minutes early in the second period cost Stone’s men any chance of a comeback.
Stand-off Jonny Lomax was the provider on both occasions, firstly with a pass for Zeb Taia to cross and then a high kick taken by centre Mark Percival from the grasp of Mamo.
Richardson increased his goal tally to five from five to push Saints lead up to 26-8 to the delight of around 1,300 travelling fans.
Oliver Roberts pulled back four points after 56 minutes only for Brough’s missed conversion to leave the Giants still three scores behind.
And while they received plenty of possession, Saints’ defence was too strong and resolute to give away a hard-earned advantage.