Rugby League: Goulding comes good for Saints

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The Independent Online
St Helens 48 Salford 12

THE MOST terrifying thought about Salford's mauling at Knowsley Road yesterday is what a Saints side playing consistently well would have done to them. When a Bobbie Goulding-inspired Saints were good they were very good indeed, but they won this in a canter without having to be good anything like all the time.

Salford were unrecognisable from the team that beat Bradford last week and whenever Saints clung on to their passes they looked certain to score tries.

The first of them came after six minutes when Sean Long exchanged passes with Paul Sculthorpe to go over. Goulding, who contributed half of his side's points on returning to the starting line-up, then began the move that saw Anthony Sullivan go in.

Goulding's break and Keiron Cunningham's pass to the blind side created the third for Apollo Perelini, and Chris Smith's try out of nothing put St Helens firmly in control before half- time.

They went off the boil at the start of the second half and Salford managed a try through Malcolm Alker. It was Goulding, relishing being back at the centre of the action, who snuffed out that brief hint of revival, taking Chris Joynt's pass to end the game as a contest.

Long and Damien Smith then set up Chris Smith for his second before Brett Goldspink showed startling pace for a big prop by striding through some hesitant defence.

Craig Randall replied with another token effort for Salford, but the scoring ended in a way that underlined Saints' superiority and Goulding's contribution to it.

Goldspink raced through again and produced a cross kick that few imagined to be in his repertoire. Goulding, supporting with the enthusiasm of a teenager, seized on the ball for his second try, rounding off his comeback with his eighth goal.

"Bobby showed what he can do today," said his coach, Sean McRae. "If he performs like that we've got no problems."

St Helens: Atcheson; C Smith, D Smith, Haigh, Sullivan; Long, Goulding; Goldspink, Cunningham, Perelini, Joynt, Sculthorpe, Martyn. Substitutes: Hammond, Pickavance, Davidson, Stewart.

Salford: Broadbent; McAvoy, Naylor, Martin, Rogers; Lee, Wright; Southern, Alker, Savelio, Forber, Randall, Hulme. Substitutes: Neal, Eccles, E Faimalo, Highton.

Referee: C Morris (Huddersfield).

Super League leaders Wigan ran in six tries in a 34-4 success at Castleford as the stand-off Henry Paul - criticised by the coach, John Monie, after missing Saturday's training session because he slept in - responded with a try in each half. The skipper Andy Farrell produced another imperious show, the highlight of which was a 40-metre solo try and five goals from six attempts.

The only disappointment for Wigan was the loss of former Castleford scrum- half Tony Smith, who was left dazed from a high tackle by Dean Sampson in the first half.

Bright Sodje grabbed a hat-trick of tries as Sheffield Eagles brought Hull's mini-revival to an abrupt halt with a 35-20 victory on Humberside.