James Roby's return helps St Helens find the edge to fillet Bradford Bulls

St Helens 30 Bradford Bulls 18

Langtree Park

St Helens climbed above Bradford, so often their rivals in the summer rugby era, to go eighth in the Super League table on Sunday as Langtree Park welcomed back two individuals who could be crucial over the rest of the campaign.

The Saints and the Bulls were unarguably the two dominant sides of the first decade of Super League, but there might not be room for both of them in the play-offs this year. Of the two teams, the omens look more propitious for the Saints.

One player does not make a team, but the return of two key men has rejuvenated St Helens to the extent that they look much more like their old selves. James Roby, making his first start at hooker on his return from injury, instantly injected the speed at the play-the-ball that St Helens have been so badly lacking, although Bradford should have prevented Willie Manu from wrestling his way over when he took his short pass from dummy-half after 10 minutes.

Jonny Lomax, playing in his first match for three months having recovered from a hamstring injury, took a little longer to make an impact, but he was instrumental in setting up Tommy Makinson for Saints' second try seven minutes later.

Given their financial constraints, the Bulls have probably overachieved already this season and they showed commendable resilience in this game. They did not stage an attack until the half-hour, but when they did, Adam Sidlow sent Brett Kearney over for a try that made the scoreline look deceptively close for such a one-sided half.

The score offered a fairer reflection of the balance of play when Sia Soliola took Jon Wilkin's pass and battered his way over in typically determined fashion five minutes before the break.

When Danny Addy's pass to Sidlow went to ground early in the second half and Josh Jones picked up to go 60 metres forward, it looked as though Saints too might run away with the contest. But credit is due to the Bulls for their grit and determination. Even without their best attacking player, Jarrod Sammut, they fashioned two further tries.

First Matty Blythe wrestled his way over the line and then Elliot Kear launched himself spectacularly to catch and touch down Luke Gale's cross-field kick.

With Roby back in the side, however, Saints have another gear they can slip into when required, and they did just that as his lightning-fast pass to Wilkin created the try that removed all doubt.

Saints still have some way to go to be the dominant force they were not too long ago, but with plenty of youthful potential and the right men in key positions, they can be highly competitive for the rest of this season. And, if they do make the play-offs, they would represent tricky opponents for anyone. For Bradford, the top eight would be a bonus, but they do not look ready to give up hope of it just yet.

St Helens Wellens; Makinson, Turner, Jones, Meli; Lomax, O'Brien; Puletua, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Soliola, Manu, Wilkin. Substitutes used Walmsley, Hand, Clough, Howarth.

Bradford Kearney; Kear, Blythe, Lulia, Platt; Addy, GaLe; Scruton, L'Estrange, Langley, Bateman, Olbison, Donaldson. Substitutes used Diskin, Evans, Roberts, Sidlow.

Referee T Alibert.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?