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Saints claim comprehensive win
Saints claim comprehensive win
St Helens topped the half-century mark for the fifth time this season as they stormed to the top of the engage Super League with a comprehensive 50-4 rout of faltering London Broncos.
Daniel Anderson?s men seized the opportunity presented to them by Bradford?s surprise win at Leeds to leapfrog the champions into pole position with just three rounds left of the regular season.
Veteran prop Paul Anderson celebrated the acquisition of a new contract with a magnificent display as Saints cut loose with nine tries, two of them from Australian winger Darren Albert.
Sixth-placed London, who held St Helens to a 28-28 draw at Knowsley Road two months ago, were never in contention and a third defeat in five games casts serious doubt over their play-off credentials.
The Broncos suffered a setback before kick-off when prop Steve Trindall was taken ill - former Wakefield and Wigan forward Francis Stephenson was drafted into the 17 - and they made the worst possible start by conceding two tries in the first 13 minutes.
Brilliant Australia Test centre Jamie Lyon created the first opportunity with a wonderful one-handed pass to Albert, who beat three defenders to touch down for his 26th try of the season.
Full-back Paul Wellens then got a pass out of the tackle for the supporting Jason Hooper to score, with captain Sean Long kicking the first of six conversions to make it 10-0.
Saints lost some rhythm when loose forward Vinnie Anderson limped off after 17 minutes and substitute Mark Edmondson, who is to join Sydney Roosters at the end of the season, was taken off with a wrist injury 10 minutes before the interval.
London debutant Carl Ablett, who has joined the Broncos on loan from Leeds, pulled off a last-gasp tackle to deny Albert a second try and the visitors gradually got back into the game, with half-backs Mark McLinden and Luke Dorn causing plenty of problems with their skilful handling.
But London could not break a tigerish defence and Saints gave another demonstration of clinical finishing four minutes before the break when second-rower Lee Gilmour freed Albert once more and he combined with Lyon to get Long over for a third try.
This time Lyon added the goal to make it 16-0 and Saints put the game beyond their opponents with three further tries within 11 minutes of the re-start.
Youngster James Graham broke clear to send Gilmour over, Paul Anderson romped clear after the error-prone Luisi fumbled a kick from Long and hooker Keiron Cunningham raced away from dummy half to put second-rower Jon Wilkin in.
Long converted all three tries to extend his side?s lead to 34-0 before London eventually opened their account on 54 minutes when centre Tyrone Smith broke out of his own half to get winger Nick Bradley-Qalilawa over for his 19th try of the season.
Paul Sykes, who went into the game as the only player to have scored in every match this season, was wide with the conversion attempt, which ended his proud record on a dismal evening for the visitors.
The skilful Lyon set up a second try for Albert on the hour and Cunningham forced his way over from acting half-back before Wellens grabbed his side?s final try three minutes from the end.
St Helens: Wellens, Albert, Lyon, Talau, Gardner, Hooper, Long, Fozzard, Cunningham, P. Anderson, Wilkin, Gilmour, V. Anderson. Replacements: Edmondson, Fa'asavalu, Roby, Graham.
London: Lucky Luisi, Wells, Smith, Sykes, Bradley-Qalilawa, McLinden, Dorn, Tookey, Hopkins, Armour, Haumono, Mateo, Mbu. Replacements: Williams, Ablett, Lolohea, Stephenson.
St Helens: (16) 50. Tries: Albert 2, Hooper, Long, Gilmour, P. Anderson, Wilkin, Cunningham, Wellens. Goals: Long 6, Lyon.
London: (0) 4. Tries: Bradley-Qalilawa.
Referee: Glen Black (New Zealand)
Thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for the above review