Hull 0 St Helens 46: Pryce inspires high-flying Saints' destruction of Hull

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The Independent Online

St Helens swept to their first-ever victory at the KC Stadium, overwhelming a dismal Hull in the first half to consolidate their position on top of Super League.

If the ultra-critical could accuse Saints of lacking some of their customary sparkle in the opening weeks of the season, no such charge could be levelled last night as Leon Pryce and Francis Meli led the way with two tries apiece.

"It was very much a team performance," said the Saints coach, Daniel Anderson. "We are working very hard for each other."

Hull's John Kear could make no such claims, calling his side's display " abject" and "pitiful". "The people I feel most sorry for are the spectators," he said. "We haven't given them the effort and commitment they deserve."

Saints had a dreadful record at Hull's new ground, but they got a pre-match boost last night with the inclusion of Great Britain full-back Paul Wellens, supposedly out for several weeks with a fractured cheekbone.

Sid Domic produced the first threatening run, but Saints survived to take the lead through Jamie Lyon's penalty and never looked back. When the first try came, it was pure St Helens, Keiron Cunningham surging out of dummy-half and Lyon taking a clever return pass from Ade Gardner.

Cunningham prompted the second try as well, running the ball cross-field to open up Hull's defence. There was some magical handling before Meli went over in the corner.

Four minutes later Sean Long kicked for the corner and Gardner brilliantly leapt high to catch, twist and force the ball down. Then Jason Hooper took Cunningham's pass to dive in low for Saints' fourth try.

The massacre continued when Hull's Richard Horne kicked straight into touch and Pryce scored from James Graham's pass.

Saints' regal progress was slightly interrupted by having two tries disallowed at the start of the second half but soon added perhaps the best of the lot, the ball going through a dizzying succession of hands before Pryce scored again.

Vinnie Anderson reacted quickest to grab a loose ball and race in for another before Meli's final Saints try. The question now is who can stop them in this mood?

Hull: Briscoe; Blacklock, Domic, Whiting, Raynor; Cooke, Horne; Thackray, Brough, Carvell, Chester, Radford, Lupton. Substitutes used: Dowes, Hill, King, Tony.

St Helens: Wellens; Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Meli; Pryce, Long; P Anderson, Cunningham, Cayless, Bennett, Wilkin, Hooper. Substitutes used: Roby, V Anderson, Graham, Fa'asavalu.

Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington).