RUGBY LEAGUE: Saints crush dismal Broncos

St Helens 58 London Broncos 6
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The Independent Online
St Helens 58 London Broncos 6

LONDON'S BID to sneak almost unnoticed into Super League's top five was blown out of the water as Anthony Sullivan led a St Helens rout.

Sullivan's three brilliantly taken tries were the highlight of the dominant Saints performance, but they were so superior in every respect that it was astonishing to reflect afterwards that a 12-point defeat would have seen the Broncos displace them in the playoff positions.

Not that there was ever the slightest sign of that happening. London started badly and got worse; by the last 10 minutes, during which they meekly conceded three soft tries, they were simply inept.

Their problems began in the 16th minute when Tommy Martyn's kick exposed Wes Cotton and Damien Smith got the ball back for Karle Hammond to score.

The first of Sullivan's hat trick soon followed, after a vintage, flowing St Helens move and Paul Newlove's final pass.

London's only bright moment of the whole match came when Damien Chapman went over from Darrren Higgins' pass. Saints soon resumed control, Sean Long, who also kicked nine goals, showing his pace to set up the position from which Damien Smith went over.

The Broncos have little but the headlong chargers of Mark Carroll and Grant Young to offer. That was never enough against some ebullient Saints attack that gathered momentum throughout the second half.

Bobbie Goulding, in the first of his two cameo appearances off the bench, set up Sullivan's second try with a typically precise kick to the corner and then Keiron Cunningham bundled his way over from dummy half.

Newlove's try was sheer class, taking Martyn's pass and accelerating away from some increasingly flaccid London defence. Then Sullivan, one of a number of Saints' backs playing their best rugby of the season, popped up in the middle to take Chris Smith's pass and complete his trio.

Goulding, back in the squad after a two-week exile, then replaced Martyn and immediately set up Damien Smith for his second with another of his trade-mark angled kicks. Honours could be regarded as being even, all three St Helens halfbacks enjoying themselves enormously.

Not so these bitterly disappointing Broncos, who were disintegrating by this stage. Butch Fatnowna cuffed the ball up for Hammond to grab another try, and Hammond then sent Chris Joynt storming through some terrible tackling for the tenth.

The scoreboard did not flatter or deceive; Saints were that much better than opponents they must have regarded as potentially dangerous and now sit comfortably in fourth place.

St Helens: Atcheson; C Smith, D Smith, Newlove, Sullivan; Martyn, Long; Goldspink, Cunningham, O'Neill, Joynt, Sculthorpe, Hammond. Substitutes used: Goulding, Perelini, Pickavance, Davidson.

London Broncos: Toshack; Fatnowna, Ryan, Tollett, Cotton; Air, Chapman; Young, Beazley, Carroll, D Higgins, Retchless, Gill. Substitutes used: Dunford, Spencer, Salter, I Higgins.

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).