Hull Kingston Rovers, who pushed Saints all the way in the Challenge Cup last Sunday, barely detained them for a moment in Super League before being swept away by a virtuoso performance from Matthew Gidley. The Australian centre scored two tries and set up three for his grateful winger, Ade Gardner, as Saints had the game comfortably won by half time.
"He's been outstanding all season," said his coach, Daniel Anderson. "He made that side of the field torrid for Rovers tonight."
Gidley began by setting up two tries in four minutes for Gardner just before the midway point in the first half. He then took a pass from Paul Sculthorpe – another heavily involved in all Saints' best work in comeback game – and, just for variety, dummied his way through to score himself. Maurie Fa'asavalu then came on and scored almost immediately.
Rovers were not helping themselves by conceding far too many penalties and that contributed to a fifth try, again from Gidley striding through before half time. It did not help either that Sean Long kicked all five conversions.
Michael Dobson's kick was charged down by Jon Wilkin for Leon Pryce to claim the first try of the second half. Rovers had their little flurry with tries from Michael Vella and Shawn Briscoe, but Gardner completed his hat trick from the inevitable Sculthorpe-Gidley combination and Willie Talau and Paul Wellens finished the rout.
It was a victory achieved at some cost, with Jason Cayless and Chris Flannery both picking up potentially serious knee injuries.
St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Gidley, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, Cayless, Cuinningham, Graham, Flannery, Wilkin, Sculthorpe. Substitutes used: Roby, Hargreaves, Clough, Fa'asavalu.
Hull KR: Briscoe, Fox, Webster, Fitzhenry, Steel, Cooke, Dobson, Crossman, Fisher, Vella, Newton, Gene, Walker. Substitutes used: Mills, Cockayne, Netherton, Chester.
Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).Reuse content