Penrith keep control as Saints splutter into life

St Helens 30 Penrith 50
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The Independent Online
St Helens suffered their third defeat of the World Club Championship last night, but not before providing some tantalising flashes of the form that could have made them a force in the competition, writes Dave Hadfield.

They had their share of a match played in a cavalier manner, but were always too far behind the Australians to have a chance of winning it.

Saints gave Penrith a two-try start in the first 10 minutes. Some dazzling ball-handling by Craig Gower, Phil Adamson and Steve Carter produced the first for Ryan Girdler, but the second was a comedy of errors. Danny Arnold helped a Penrith kick into touch and, from the scrum possession, a simple move sent in Jody Gall unchallenged.

St Helens briefly roused themselves for Sean Long and Vila Matautia to link well and send in Steve Prescott, but some glorious ball skills, combined with some woefully fallible defence, saw the Panthers go in for further tries from Darren Brown, Robbie Beckett and Brown again.

Paul Newlove, back in the side after a six-match absence, showed what Saints had been missing with a marvellous break - despite the loss of a boot - to send Anthony Sullivan in for a try but Penrith scored again before half-time when they arrogantly worked the ball back 20 yards before unleashing Sid Domic.

Saints, having had a try disallowed immediately before the break, struck twice through Keiron Cunningham soon after. Long added both conversions and a penalty. Stunned into action, the Panthers grabbed an unorthodox seventh try, Carter kicking through and Jason Williams side-footing it back to him for the touchdown. Gower and Girdler then linked superbly for another.

Sullivan's try in the corner from Cunningham's pass left the question of what might have been for Saints, until Danny Farrar rounded it off for Penrith in the last minute.

St Helens: Prescott; Arnold, Hunte, Newlove, Sullivan; Hammond, Long; Perelini, Cunningham, O'Neill, Morley, Matautia, Joynt. Substitutes: Pickavance, McVey, Haigh, Anderson.

Penrith: Jorgensen; Beckett, Domic, Girdler, Williams; Carter, Gower; McNamara, Farrar, P Adamson, M Adamson, Gall, Brown. Substitutes: Brew, Boyd, Thompson, McGillivray.

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).