St Helens 58 Workington Town 10
If Anthony Sullivan was worried that he might be starved of the ball once he had the world's highest-priced try scorer immediately inside him, he can, on this early evidence, set that fear aside.
Sullivan did his best to upstage the debut of Paul Newlove with four tries, taking his total for the season to 24. But any idea that Newlove's failure to get on to the scoresheet until Saints' 11th and last try five minutes from time was a disappointment would be misconceived.
No one would appreciate that better than Sullivan, who scored two tries from clever Newlove passes and another thanks to his work as the game's most expensive decoy. "It has all the hallmarks of a great partnership," Sullivan said. "He gets the ball out wonderfully."
Within the first 10 minutes Saints fans who had given Newlove an enthusiastic welcome had seen two alert pieces of centre play produce tries. The first went to Saints after slick handling from Karle Hammond and David Lyon create the chance for Andy Northey, and the second to Workington's Vince Fawcett after Lyon had lost the ball behind his line.
A Workington side always willing to try to match Saints' freewheeling style even went ahead through Dean Marwood's conversion, but the home side then took over.
Newlove, whose first touch after two minutes had brought an expectant roar as he almost crashed his way through the Workington defence, was used as a foil in the build-up to a brilliant second Saints try, started by Apollo Perelini's run and finished by Chris Joynt's delayed pass to Sullivan.
The first real demonstration of Newlove's likely value to Saints produced Sullivan's second try as he charged through Kevin Pape's tackle and flipped up a near miraculous pass for his wing man.
Adam Fogerty forced his way over for the first of his two tries and the impressive young substitute, Danny Arnold, latched on to an excellent break by Hammond to put Saints well in control at half-time.
Workington, who are planning to renew their interest in the former England rugby union scrum-half Dewi Morris, at least continued to attempt to play good rugby and gained some reward when Fawcett grabbed his second, from a well-timed pass from the Western Samoan, Lafaele Filipo.
Town could have drawn a little closer if Logan Campbell, just placed on report for an apparent spear tackle, had not been caught by Arnold, Saints immediately turning defence into attack with Joynt, Newlove and Sullivan setting up Hammond.
Joynt then sold a huge dummy for one try, Fogarty backed up Keiron Cunningham for his second and Newlove's superb pass sent in Sullivan.
Arnold, on this showing the pick of all Saints' young hopefuls, provided the pass for Sullivan's fourth before Newlove finally got the first of what will surely be many in Saints colours.
St Helens: Lyon (Arnold 13); Hayes, Northey, Newlove, Sullivan; Hammond, Goulding; Fogerty (Morley, 52), Cunningham, Leatham (Pickavance, 49), Joynt, Perelini, Busby (Waring, 65).
Workington: Johnson; Fraisse (Penrice, 49), Campbell, Fawcett, Pape; Kitchin (Bethwaite, 34), Marwood; Schubert (Filopo, 34), McKenzie, Phillips, Armstrong, McGinty, Palmada.
Referee: R Connolly (Wigan).Reuse content