St Helens, holders of the Cup and League titles in Britain, received their second lesson in global realities as they were out-classed by Cronulla last night, writes Dave Hadfield.
The Sharks won at Knowsley Road even more emphatically than Auckland had done 10 days earlier. The sides exchanged early penalties before Cronulla's David Peachey stretched the defence with one of his long runs from deep and Jason Stevens burrowed over.
Against opponents with few attacking ideas, it was only a matter of time before the Sharks caused further problems. They came in the six minutes before half-time, when Cronulla scored four tries. Tawera Nikau's pass sent Russell Richardson in at the corner for his fifth try in two championship matches. He almost had his sixth a couple of minutes later, but when he was stopped on the line the ball was moved the other way for Danny Lee to send in Nikau. Andrew Ettingshausen's chip then let in Mat Rogers, and Nikau touched down again soon after.
The second half brought little relief, Paul Green's lofted pass sending in Richard Barnett, but Alan Hunte at least crossed for the Saints, running on to a pass from Apollo Perelini. Green then jinked his way over after Simon Booth had gifted the ball to the Sharks. Wade Forrester finished off a grand move to score Cronulla's eighth and final try.
St Helens: Prescott; Arnold, Haigh, Hunte, Sullivan, Hammond, Long, Leatham, Cunningham, O'Neill, Perelini, Matautia, Joynt. Substitutes used: Pickavance, Booth, Busby, Anderson.
Cronulla: Peachey; Barnett, Ettingshausen, Richardson, Rogers, Healey, Green, Lee, Treister, Stevens, Forrester, Graham, Nikau. Substitutes used: Lang, Strauss, Sammut, Bell.
Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).Reuse content