Rugby league: Hanley heartened by Saints win

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The Independent Online
THE ST HELENS coach, Ellery Hanley, was a happy man after his side stretched their lead at the top of Super League with an emphatic 48-0 home win over Salford Reds yesterday.

Saints ran in nine tries, three of them from Chris Smith, and Sean Long scored his 500th point for the club, kicking six goals from eight attempts. But Hanley was more pleased by his side's defensive qualities.

"We started and finished very well but the most pleasing aspect was the fact that the opposition didn't score for the second time since I arrived at the club," Hanley said.

It was a tortuous afternoon for Salford's caretaker coach, John Foran, but he still managed to muster some optimism for his struggling team.

"I was pleased with our start but then we dropped off the tackles and Saints ripped us to bits," Foran said.

Wigan warmed up for Friday's crucial Super League game against Leeds Rhinos with an 18-12 victory at the bottom club, Hull. The Warriors' coach, John Monie, is hoping to keep up the pressure on leaders St Helens with his side's fourth consecutive triumph at Central Park when Leeds visit later in the week. "Hull gave us a stern test and that will have done us a lot of good," Monie said.

Even after going 14-0 ahead Wigan were made to fight by struggling Hull. A Greg Florimo try was all they had to show in the first-half except for three goals by Phil Jones. It was not until Jason Robinson scored that Wigan could breathe a little easier.

The Sharks hit back through Paul Cooke and then, after Gary Connolly had gone over for Wigan, Fili Seru scored Hull's second try to leave the visitors with a tense finale.

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