The maths were pretty simple as St. Helens visited the AJ Bell Stadium to take on a Salford Red Devils side already in wind down, and with nothing to play for. A win would put them in the box seat for a top four finish, and the play-offs, but a loss would see them overtaken by the winner of the Warriors game with Trinity on Saturday afternoon.
Justin Holbrooks side had no room for slip-ups but nothing was more certain than Marwan Koukash having spent the week putting pressure on coach Ian Watson to spoil the Saints party.
One sides season would definitely end tonight, but the travelling fans from Saints wondered whether it would be both sides, or would their side live to fight another day.
It was a terrible start for Saints when Ben Barba knocked on a high kick near his own line. From the scrum Salford moved the ball down the line and Niall Evalds was on the overlap to go in by the left corner flag. Gareth O達rien pulled his conversion attempt wide of the uprights but five minutes in the Devils were 4-0 ahead.
It was a nervy start for the Saints and they squandered a couple of opportunities before scoring their first try on seventeen through Mark Percival when the Saints centre found space off a Barba pass to run the angle and score from ten metres. Percival couldn稚 add the extras to his own try and the sides were all square.
Just after thirty minutes the Red Devils had a try turned down for a knock-on in the build up. Two minutes later, after being placed on a team warning for repeated offences, Salford conceeded Saints second try. Alex Walmsley muscled his way to the line from ten metres out and when Percival added the extras the Saints had a six point lead.
Seconds after Walmsley had laid out Jordan Walne, Theo Fages was hit late to the head while taking a kick by Ryan Lannon and referee James Child brandished the red card, leaving Salford with a mountain to climb. Percival kicked the resulting penalty for 12-4.
Right on the final hooter another fight broke out between all on-field players after a tackle by Junior Sa置. Percival attempted the kick from the touchline but pushed it across the posts.
A Gareth O達rien forty-twenty on fifty-one came to nothing as Saints defended their line.
Three minutes later and Saints had a try ruled out by the video referee when Regan Grace put a foot in touch in the act of scoring.
Zeb Taia got Saints one foot in the play-offs when, on sixty-two, he took advantage of Red Devils indiscipline when he crashed onto the ball, span out of the tackle and used his strength to get to the line. Percival added the conversion for 18-4 and it was the Saints fans who were singing.
Walmsley got his second try on seventy taking a Matty Smith pass five metres from the line and dropping over to score with Josh Jones around his ankles. Percival was again accurate with the kick and Saints were home and dry.
Barba jinked his way through the Red Devils defence on seventy-eight to score from twenty metres out to put the icing on Saints cake. Percival kicked the goal as the final hooter warmed up for a 30-4 win.
While Saints were far from convincing they did the job and secured themselves a play-off place. Rocked by an early try from the Red Devils, the Saints dominated the majority of the first half and didnt give the opposition a chance in the second half.
Unless Hull FC beat Castleford and Wigan beat Wakefield by ninety-one, or more, points then Saints are safe, it痴 now matter of whether they will travel to Castleford next Thursday or Leeds next Friday.
Devils: Evalds (T), Bibby, Welham, Sa置, Vatuvei, Lui, O達rien, Murray, Tomkins, Hauraki, Murdoch-Masila, Jones, McCarthy. Subs: Kopczak, Brinning, Lannon (SO), Walne.
Saints: Barba (T), Makinson, Morgan, Percival (T, 5G), Grace, Fages, Richardson, Thompson, Roby, Douglas, Taia (T), Knowles, Wilkin. Subs: Walmsley (2T), McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Peyroux, Smith.
Referee: James Child.