Home comforts are proving thin on the ground for Saints in exile. The facilities at their temporary base in Widnes might be a little more modern than they are used to, but they were well beaten for a second game there by a Harlequins side that played them off the park in the first half.
That makes it four wins out of five for Harlequins. "But we are not talking about the play-offs yet," said their coach Rob Powell. "We have competed five times and we will have to do it another 22."
Quins started out as though intent on repairing the damage from last week's first Super League defeat and for most of the first period they were as sharp as Saints were shambolic.
Inside the first minute, Luke Gale's perfect kick forced a drop-out and he then initiated a move so simple and incisive that it cut Saints apart. Rob Purdham delivered the killer ball, turned inside for Luke Dorn to score.
Five minutes later Quins kept the ball alive on the last tackle for Karl Pryce, on loan from Wigan, to use his considerable bulk to go over.
Saints did not mount any pressure until Chris Flannery's sheer determination forced Dorn over his try-line. Even then, try-saving tackles, by Dorn on Lee Gaskell and debutant Mark Calderwood on Francis Meli, kept them at bay.
The Londoners then showed how to seize upon a chance when Gaskell kicked out on the full. Dorn fed Tony Clubb and, although he was grounded by Jonny Lomax's tackle, he got up to finish the job. Gale added a penalty to go with his three conversions and gave the visitors a 20-point lead at the interval.
After 47 minutes, Saints finally got on the scoreboard when Meli touched down. When James Graham wrestled his way through traffic seven minutes later, one of their famous fightbacks looked on the cards. But almost immediately Nick Kouparitsas went over from an interception and Quins were back in control even before Gale put over a late drop-goal. James Roby's last-minute try was too little too late for Saints.
St Helens Wellens; Gardner, Shenton, Lomax, Meli; Gaskell, Eastmond; Graham, Roby, Perry, Clough, Flannery, Puletua. Substitutes used Moore, Dixon, Magennis, Foster.
Harlequins Dorn; Calderwood, Clubb, Pryce, Melling; Gale, Randall; Ward, Ellis, Burnett, Purdham, Bailey. Substitutes used Temata, Kouparitsas, Ambler, Mellor.
Referee G Hewer (Whitehaven).Reuse content