Super League: St Helens 46-22 Bradford Bulls

Paul Wellens
Paul Wellens has scored 10 Super League tries this season

Paul Wellens scored two tries as Super League leaders St Helens eased to victory against strugglers Bradford.

Saints piled on five first-half tries to take control at 28-0, with Mark Percival, James Roby, Wellens, Mose Masoe and Adam Swift going over.

Lance Hohaia and Tom Makinson then crossed before the Bulls hit back.

Luke Gale, Joe Arundel, Adrian Purtell and Jamie Foster grabbed Bradford's tries and Wellens completed Saints' comfortable win in the final minute.

The Bulls' fifth successive league defeat leaves them 11 points adrift of safety with just seven matches remaining, while St Helens bounced back from their shock 40-10 defeat against Hull KR in the previous round to remain one point clear at the top of the table.

Saints scored 40 of their points inside the first 50 minutes with Bradford not responding until just before the hour.

Mark Flanagan sent Roby over for the host's first try on nine minutes and the visitors went close to a reply through Adrian Purtell, who failed to gather a high ball.

Wellens raced 60 metres for his first try, before Masoe barged through a number of attempted tackles for Saints' third and Percival outpaced Bradford's defence to score out wide.

Matty Blythe was punished for losing possession before half-time as Jon Wilkin, Wellens and Anthony Laffranchi combined to send Swift over.

Within three minutes of the re-start, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook charged through a hole and laid off for Hohaia to finish.

Makinson then went top of Super League's 2014 try-scoring table with his effort down the right.

Bradford fought their way back into the one-sided affair, with Gale pouncing on an elusive bouncing ball to score, before sending a high kick for Arundel to touch down in the corner.

Purtell and Forster, who also kicked three goals, added further respectability to the scoreline, only for Wellens to stamp Saints authority on the match with his side's eighth try.

St Helens coach Nathan Brown:

"Our first 60 minutes I was quite happy with. Then we had a 15-minute period when we were not where we need to be.

"We are not quite consistent for an 80-minute period. The 60th to the 75th minute was quite disappointing.

"We are just going through a stage where we are not getting the full 17 contributing for a fair chunk of that 80-minute period.

"But any time you win a game, you have got to take some satisfaction. Any time you are 40-0 up after 60 minutes, you can take some satisfaction."

Bradford Bulls coach James Lowes:

"The aim is to compete in every match. If we do that, we will finish the season in a decent manner, irrelevant of whether we stay up or go down.

"It is looking more and more likely we will get relegated. We will get our heads round that. If that is the way it goes, it is the way it goes.

"I want the lads to go down in the manner of that second half. There is something there - we have just got to find it earlier.


St Helens: Wellens; Makinson, Turner, Percival, Swift; Hohaia, Wilkin; Amor, Roby, Walmsley, Flanagan, Soliola, Thompson.

Replacements: Masoe, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Manu, Laffranchi.

Bradford: Kearney; Williams, Henry, Purtell, Foster; Gaskell, Gale; Manuokafoa, O'Brien, Sidlow, Olbison, Pitts, Donaldson.

Replacements: Blythe, Addy, Fakir, Arundel.

Attendance: 10,238

Referee: Robert Hicks (RFL).