Talau treble steals draw for Saints

St Helens 28 London Broncos 28
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The Independent Online

A third try of the match from Willie Talau two minutes from time kept Saints' unbeaten record under their new regime last night.

The Broncos were hanging on for a deserved victory when Saints regained possession from a short kick-off. Sean Long got the ball to Talau for his hat-trick, but could not land the conversion to sneak the win.

Saints have been in commanding form since their new coach, Daniel Anderson, arrived and that was the way they started this, his fourth match in charge. After two minutes, Lee Gilmour breached the defensive line and, as London waited in vain for a knock-on ruling, sent Talau over.

Saints struck again when Jamie Lyon showed his strength and resourcefulness to get a scoring pass to Kieron Cunningham.

London defended better after that, but frequently turned over possession. Saints were also guilty of wastefulness, Mike Bennett and Nick Fozzard both putting the ball down with the try-line looming.

After 24 minutes they were punished, Luke Dorn putting up a bomb and Jon Wells, who had just stopped Lyon with a perfect tackle, forcing the ball down. Paul Sykes landed the Knights' first goal and the penalty that brought the Broncos level, after Lyon had tackled him high. The London charge gathered pace, with Dorn, Solomon Haumono and Thomas Leuluai all getting their boots to the ball before Leuluai got it down at the base of the post.

Just before half-time, Dorn's kicking caused havoc again, Tyrone Smith's second hack landing in Nick Bradley-Qalilawa's arms for the third Broncos try.

Four minutes after the break, Cunningham's sharp pass allowed Long to race away for the try that put him second in Saints' all-time points-scoring list. London gave themselves some breathing space once more when Leuluai squirmed over from dummy-half. Back came Saints, Cunningham getting out a basketball pass to enable Talau to score his second try.

Time was running out, even for late-escape artists like Saints, when Ian Hardman smuggled the ball infield as he was driven towards the corner flag, Lyon scooped up the ball to score and Long's goal tied the scores. Rob Purdham's try put London back in front, but there was enough life in Saints to snatch a draw.

St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Hardman, Hooper, Long, Fozzard, Cunningham, Anderson, Gilmour, Wilkin, Sculthorpe. Substitutes used: Edmondson, Bennett, Roby, Fa'asavalu.

London: Luisi, Wells, Sykes, Smith, Bradley-Qalilawa, Dorn, Leuluai, Tookey, Highton, Lolohea, Hopkins, Purdham, Mbu. Substitutes used: O'Halloran, Trindall, Haumono, Williams.

Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington).