Saints brush aside Wildcats
St Helens brushed aside Wakefield Trinity Wildcats with a eight-try show to notch their third consecutive Stobart Super League.by NRL
St Helens brushed aside Wakefield Trinity Wildcats with a eight-try show to notch their third consecutive Stobart Super League.
Chris Flannery swept over for a hat-trick and Sol Soliola crossed twice as Saints warmed up for Saturday's Carnegie Challenge Cup quarter-final at Wigan Warriors in style.
Wakefield trailed 22-6 at half-time with James Roby scoring a memorable long-range try for Saints in the second half.
The Wildcats, after a weekend off following their fourth-round cup loss at Leeds Rhinos, opted to leave out Isaac John and also Paul Johnson against his old club despite clearing a two-match ban.
Andy Ellis stepped into the pack for Oliver Wilkes who suffered a damaged thumb in an outstanding display in the win over Salford City Reds a fortnight ago.
Saints expected to have England forward Jon Wilkin back after a shoulder injury sustained at Wigan on Good Friday ? interim coach Mike Rush's only defeat in seven matches since the departure of Royce Simmons.
But Wilkin failed a fitness test although Australian forward Anthony Laffranchi returned after missing the 76-0 cup romp over Oldham.
Saints piled up 98 points in their two league wins last season over Wakefield, who fell behind to a Flannery try after six minutes.
Man-of-the-match Flannery supported Paul Wellens incisive burst and Lomax tagged on the straightforward conversion.
But Wakefield hit back almost immediately with the Saints defence failing to deal with Matt Wildie's high kick and Dean Collis pouncing on the loose ball with Paul Sykes converting.
Soliola was prominent for Saints with several thundering tackles but was then at fault with a handling error to allow Ben Cockayne to set up an attack.
Soliola made amends after 22 minutes by taking Wellens' pass to crash through a brave Wildie tackle and stretch over the line to make it 12-6.
Wakefield continued to strive for an opening and Danny Kirmond was only denied a try by a superb Wellens tackle.
Soliola grabbed his second try after taking Roby's pass to dart 30 metres and outpace the Wildcats cover in the 29th minute.
A high tackle on Wellens increased the pressure on Wakefield who conceded a fourth try just before the break when Lomax burrowed over.
Lomax booted his third conversion to fire his side ahead 22-6 at the break.
Saints turned defence into attack early in the second half after Wakefield's Frankie Mariano spilled the ball when they threatened to score.
Lomax' grubber bounced perfectly for Flannery to notch his second try and extend the advantage to 26-6.
Roby's short pass gave Flannery his hat-trick before smart handling from Wellens and Michael Shenton put Tommy Makinson over in the corner.
Then Roby intercepted a Collis pass near his own line to sprint 90 metres for a remarkable effort and increase the lead to 38-6.
Peter Fox touched down in the corner after brushing past Meli eight minutes from time for Wakefield's second try converted by Sykes.
Saints win would have been bigger had Lomax not been off target with five of his eight goal attempts.
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