Saints show their strength in depth to overpower Hull
St Helens 44 Hull 22
Tuesday 14 April 2009
St Helens consolidated their lead at the top of Super League and took full advantage of Leeds' slip-up by inflicting a fifth defeat in a row on Hull yesterday.
It was a hot-and-cold performance – highlighted by the rampaging running of Tony Puletua, the craft of Leon Pryce and the rich promise of Kyle Eastmond – but it was far too much for a Hull side feeling the after-effects of their Humberside derby defeat on Good Friday.
"It was always going to be hard for us after a very energy-sapping game at the KC and we came up against a side running pretty hot," said the Hull coach, Richard Agar.
The visitors resisted the temptation to give a debut to their new signing, Stuart Reardon, opting instead to draft Richard Whiting and Danny Washbrook into an unfamiliar-looking back division.
This mix-and-match line-up was too often all at sea defensively. After Hull had made and missed a couple of early chances, they conceded three tries in 10 minutes.
The first came from close range from the powerful Puletua and the next two, from Lee Gilmour and Jon Wilkin, courtesy of passes from Pryce. With the returning Sean Long landing two of his three conversions, Hull were already losing touch. Their one encouraging moment came right out of the blue when, with Saints threatening to score a fourth, Matt Gidley slipped the sort of precise pass to Hull's Graeme Horne that he normally reserves for Ade Gardner. Horne, an emergency left-winger, could hardly believe it himself as he ran 90 metres to score.
If that was Hull's opportunity to get back into the match, it was a fleeting one. Before half-time, Saints were over the try-line again, Long and Pryce opening the way for Paul Wellens.
Shaun Berrigan's fumble, Puletua's charge – "He's getting better and better and adds a lot of quality to our team," said his coach, Mick Potter – and Pryce's finish started the second half in the same mode, before Willie Manu got one back for Hull.
That was followed by a timely reminder of the talent Saints have coming through. The young half-back Eastmond came into the game and, within four minutes, had scored a try and set one up for another understudy, Chris Dean. After Gardner's try, Eastmond claimed a second, although Hull made the scoreline look slightly more respectable through Mark Calderwood and a second from Horne.
St Helens: Wellens; Gardner, Gidley, Dean, Meli; Pryce, Long; Graham, Cunningham, Puletua, Gilmour, Wilkin, Clough. Substitutes used: Roby, Hargreaves, Eastmond, Fa'asavalu.
Hull: Thorman; Calderwood, Whiting, Yeaman, G Horne; Washbrook, R Horne; Dowes, Houghton, Thackray, Manu, Tickle, Radford. Substitutes used: Berrigan, King, Lee, Maloney.
Referee: T Alibert (France).
Latest in Sport
Ashley Cole and Luke Shaw rise to the bait to deny they are the rumoured 'gay England footballer'
Chelsea 4 Tottenham 0 match report: Samuel Eto’o stoops to conquer sorry Spurs
West Brom 0 Manchester United 3 match report: Manchester United stick to the script as Robin Van Persie loses the plot
Arsenal 4 Everton 1 match report: Revitalised Mesut Özil breathes life into Arsenal
Transfer news: Micah Richards could fill gap at Arsenal with Bacary Sagna's departure as Manchester City contract winds down
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 3 Dear 'The Sun', breast cancer isn't sexy
- 4 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’