Adam Quinlan scored a hat-trick of tries on a dream Super League debut and fellow Australian Luke Walsh kicked a 78th-minute field goal as St Helens secured a precious 35-34 win over form team Huddersfield.
The win at Langtree Park on Friday moved the Saints to within a point of leaders Leeds with two games left before the Super 8s.
Saints were never behind, but Huddersfield hit back five times to level the scores and halfbacks Danny Brough and Jamie Ellis both failed with goal kicks in the last 10 minutes that would have put them in front.
St Helens’ former Penrith halfback Walsh finally settled it with a last-gasp drop goal.
Defences were all at sea throughout the 12-try thriller, but St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham will be delighted to get the win, especially after describing last week’s 46-18 defeat at Leeds as a “debacle”.
Quinlan became the seventh St Helens player to take on the fullback role in 2015, just four days after arriving from Australia – where he was released from his contract with the Parramatta Eels – and he could hardly have made a more memorable start to his Super League career.
He was tested out early with a couple of huge bombs from Brough, but came through with flying colours and pulled off a crucial tackle on his opposite number Scott Grix before demonstrating his penchant for scoring tries.
He was on the spot on 15 minutes to collect a lucky ricochet after James Roby’s kick came back off Grix and was also in the right place to touch down Andre Savelio’s sloppy offload on the half-hour, although Saints’ determination to keep the ball alive deserved some reward.
Quinlan then demonstrated his alertness to support a break by Roby to complete his hat-trick four minutes before the break.