Rugby League: Perelini keeps Saints' dream alive

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London Broncos 28

St Helens 32

St Helens kept their Stones Super League title hopes alive by the narrowest and most debatable of margins when a hotly disputed try by Apollo Perelini gave them an injury time victory at the Valley.

Time was rapidly running out for Saints at the end of an extraordinarily dramatic encounter when the Western Samoan prop took a pass from Karle Hammond and hurled himself at the try-line.

Three London tacklers clung to him, but Perelini forced his way over in a tangle of bodies and, despite being turned on to his back, was ruled, after repeated viewing of the evidence of the head on camera, to have got the ball down.

It was, at best, a desperately close decision and it was hard not to sympathise with the Broncos captain, Terry Matterson, as he trudged to the sin bin for expressing his opinion of it as Bobbie Goulding put over the conversion.

There was still time for London to pour back on to the attack, but Saints held on through seven and a half minutes of injury time to once more supplant Wigan at the top of the table. They will face no sterner test of their resolve in their four remaining matches this season.

It had all seemed relatively straightforward early on, with tries from Joey Hayes, Perelini and Paul Newlove giving Saints a 14-2 lead.

But a tenacious London, who have agreed terms with Wigan for Martin Offiah and now plan to sign him on Tuesday, staged a rousing fight-back.

First Matterson's reverse pass sent in Russell Bawden and then Scott Roskill went 60 yards straight from a scrum for the spectacular try but that tied up the scores before half-time.

A penalty from Greg Barwick, one of six successes from as many attempts, gave London the lead early in the second half and Roskill's second, after brilliant work by Barwick and the debutant David Krause, sent the Broncos galloping further ahead.

Now it was Saints' turn to fight if they were going to remain favourites for the title, Ian Pickavance's tumbling pass sending Vila Matautia in and Scott Gibbs carrying three men over on his back in what is likely to be his last game for the club before his return to Welsh rugby union at Swansea.

London refused to concede defeat, Peter Gill and Tulsen Tollett opening the way for Steve Rosolen to score and for Barwick's conversion off the post to put them back into the lead.

But then came the final moment of drama and controversy, one that could decide the destiny of the Super League championship in a month's time.

London Broncos: Martin; Roskell, Krause, Barwick, Maguire; Tollett, Langer; Allen, Rea, Mestrov, Dill, Rosolen, Matterson.

Subs used: Dynevor, Butt, Shaw, Bawden.

St Helens: Prescott; Hayes, Gibbs, Newlove, Arnold; Hammond, Goulding; Perelini, Cunningham, Fogerty, Joynt, McVey, Morley. Subs used: Pickavance, Matautia, Hunte, Martyn.

Referee: S Cummings (Widnes).

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