Rugby League: Sullivan spearheads Saints rout

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ANTHONY SULLIVAN scored a hat-trick as St Helens ran in nine tries in thrashing the depleted Bradford Bulls 58-14 to stay at the top of the Super League.

An early try from Bernard Dwyer and two goals by Paul Deacon proved a false dawn as the Bulls led 8-4 after 18 minutes before Saints rallied. They led 20-8 at the break with touchdowns from Fereti Tuilagi, Paul Sculthorpe and Sullivan's first effort and then piled on the agony for a Bradford side without five players injured during Thursday's victory over Leeds.

St Helens' coach, Ellery Hanley, was not satisfied. "I was a little dirty on my players for conceding two tries," he said. "However, it was a very impressive effort considering we were backing up after a tough clash at Wigan on Good Friday. That victory took a lot out of my players but their concentration was very good and they were tuned in."

Warrington produced a stunning second-half revival to beat Gateshead 23-18 at Wilderspool, maintain their 100 per cent start to the season and stay alongside St Helens at the top.

The winger Jason Roach's second try of the game turned the tide for the home team, who had trailed 18-8 midway through the second half. Lee Briers added a penalty before Alan Hunte touched down to level at 18-18, then Briers edged Warrington a point in front with a drop-goal. Gateshead had a try disallowed before Warrington sealed victory with an injury-time try by Mark Forster.

Wigan had triple cause for celebration at Belle Vue. Not only did they overrun Wakefield Trinity, but in winning 52-22 they chalked up their second half-century score of the campaign. In addition, Denis Betts, the Great Britain second rower, marked his return from a six-and-a-half month lay-off due to knee surgery by crossing for his 100th career try.

Sheffield pulled off a dramatic last-minute victory over the bottom club, Hull, when Mark Aston converted a second Karl Lovell try to give his side a 23-21 edge. The former Hull KR winger, Bright Sodje, scored twice for the visitors as they left Hull still searching for their first points of the campaign.

By contrast, Hull KR, the Northern Ford Premiership leaders, lost for the first time this season, when they went down 25-14 at Dewsbury.