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Sunday 11th May 2014, 15:00 - Round:12
|T||Jon Wilkin 2, Luke Walsh, Jonny Lomax, Tom Makinson, Adam Swift, Sia Soliola, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, James Roby,|
Luke Walsh 7,
Attendance: 6,311 Official: M Thomason Venue: Provident Stadium, Odsal
Luke Walsh scored a try and kicked seven goals from nine attempts as St Helens moved back to within a point of First Utility Super League leaders Leeds Rhinos following a 50-0 mauling of second-bottom Bradford Bulls at Odsal.
Saints, who ended a run of three defeats with a win over basement club London Broncos last week, again demonstrated a gulf in class between the opposite ends of the table with a comprehensive nine-try display.
The Lancashire side touched down four times in the first half and added five more after the interval.
The relegation-threatened Bulls ended a dismal run of eight straight Super League defeats with battling recent cup and league victories over Catalan Dragons and Warrington Wolves respectively but this result plunges them back into deep trouble as Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Salford Red Devils and Hull KR - the sides immediately above them prior to the weekend - all picked up vital points.
Saints captain Paul Wellens, back in the squad after being rested against the Broncos, came off the bench to pull back level with Kevin Sinfield's ongoing record 417 Super League appearances.
The Bulls' hopes of bolstering their pack were dealt a late blow when prop Manase Manuokafoa failed a morning fitness test on his hamstring, while scrum-half Luke Gale also dropped out late through sickness.
But Chev Walker recovered from a neck injury and returned along with Luke George on the bench.
The Bulls created the first threat on the back of two successive penalties but it was the early season league leaders who almost scored the initial try after a Walsh kick caused confusion in the home defence.
It was following a Matt Dawson break, hauled down 20 metres short by stand-in full-back Elliot Kear, that Saints began their ruthless onslaught - the next play resulting in Jon Wilkin going over for the opening try.
Walsh added the conversion from out wide on the left and Mose Masoe nearly added a second try but lost control attempting to get through heavy traffic to the line.
Just before the half-hour mark Lance Hohaia dummied his way clear and Walsh was up in support to score and convert to double the advantage.
Just three minutes later a Walsh chip was patted back by Tom Makinson for Jonny Lomax to claim and ground, although Walsh's kick drifted in the blustery wind onto the post and out.
Antonio Kaufusi and Jay Pitts combined to put Adam O'Brien within half a yard of claiming Bradford's first try but Saints held firm and, 45 seconds before the break, Walsh sent Wilkin dashing through between the posts to leave the Lancashire side 22-0 in front and almost home and dry.
Makinson's 14th Super League try of the season set the scoreboard in motion five minutes after the restart before Saints' other winger Adam Swift crossed after some fast handling and a fine dummy and supply pass from Hohaia.
As rain began to pour down, Wilkin was denied a hat-trick on the hour by a posse of defenders who managed to hold him up but there was nothing the Bulls defence could do to stop Walsh sending Sia Soliola over just afterwards.
This time the woodwork aided Walsh as the touchline conversion bounced over off the upright.
Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and James Roby added further tries in the last 10 minutes to hoist the half-century.
TA: Try assists
MT: Marker tackles
MI: Missed tackles
TB: Tackle busts
AT: Attacking kicks
AG: Av gain
CB: Clean break
DR: Run from dummy half
FT: Forty twenty
MG: Missed goals