Percival puts Castleford to the sword as Saints gain revenge
St Helens gained revenge for last season's dramatic Super League semi-final defeat to Castleford Tigers with an emphatic 46-6 win on Friday.
Castleford, winners of the League Leaders' Shield in 2017, claimed a 23-22 golden-point victory over St Helens in the last four to reach the Grand Final, where they were beaten by Leeds Rhinos.
Saints have been tipped as one of the favourites to lift the trophy this year and laid down an early marker in the season opener.
Mark Percival scored a hat-trick and Ben Barba and Zeb Taia each crossed twice as Saints ran in eight tries, Paul McShane responsible for Castleford's sole four-pointer on a humbling night.
Wigan Warriors were also comfortable winners in their first game of the campaign, easily beating Salford Red Devils 40-12 at AJ Bell Stadium.
Salford took the lead through Kris Welham, but that was as good as it got for the hosts, Wigan running rampant as Oliver Gildart and Liam Marshall went over for braces in a seven-try showing.
Elsewhere, Leeds legend Danny McGuire's first game as a Hull KR player did not go to plan, the promoted team losing 28-6 to Wakefield Trinity.
Winger Tom Johnstone did the bulk of the damage for Wakefield with a hat-trick.