Saturday 23rd February 2013, 14:00
Super League - Round: 4
Brett Kearney, Elliot Kear,
Jonny Lomax 3, Willie Manu, Anthony Laffranchi, Tony Puletua, Ade Gardner,
Gary Wheeler 4,
Attendance: 8,203 Official: T Roby Venue: Provident Stadium, Odsal
Full Time Report
Bradford Bulls 10 St Helens 36
Johnny Lomax’s hat trick helped St Helens ease past the Bull at the Provident Stadium.
Despite Brett Kearney’s sixth try of the campaign just after halftime and Elliot Kear’s score on the hooter, a Saints master class in the first-half saw them lead 26-0 at the break and there was no way back from there for Francis Cummins men.
The home side brought back James Donaldson back into the side for the first time in one year.
The only other change made by Francis Cummins being Adam Sidlow swapping places with Manase Manuokafoa to start the game after an impressive performance last weekend from the former Salford prop.
Injuries to experienced trio Lance Hohaia, Josh Perry and Paul Wellens affected the look of the Saints line-up, which included Johnny Lomax at fullback and John Wilkin playing at scrum-half.
A poor start from the Bulls where they gave Saints an early penalty and then another set of six when Jamie Foster fumbled a high bomb in the air gave Lomax the space to ghost his way in down the left edge.
It then got worse 5 minutes later. James Roby’s quick scoots out of dummy half caused the Bulls all sorts of problems, and a missed tackle by Elliot Whitehead then gave Manu the chance to burst through and touchdown under the sticks.
Wheeler slotted home his conversion and the onslaught then continued, with Roby this time playing a ball back on the inside to Anthony Laffranchi, who bulldozed his way through the Bulls defence.
Another two from Wheeler made it 16-0 inside 15 minutes. Another shrill of referee Tim Roby’s whistle put Saints in position to get over again. This time Mark Flanagan played creator, with the former Bulls forward’s pass giving Lomax the platform to dance his way to the line.
Two penalties on the bounce in favour of the home side then geed up the so far flat Provident stadium crowd, and a neat move out-wide looked to be a perfect set-up for Matty Blythe’s fourth try in four games. But the centre chose to pass wildly into the advertising hoardings.
Any chance of a Bulls comeback looked to be even bleaker just four minutes before the break, when Tony Puletua somehow got the ball down despite being held up in a four man tackle. Wheeler then converted to make it 26-0.
With the hooter sounding in the background, unlikely kicker Jamie Langley looked to have set up Jarrod Sammut, but the halfback was ruled to have knocked on over the line, as both teams then made their way into the sheds.
The Bulls got off to the good start that they needed in the second half, with slick handling between Heath L’Estrange and Sammut giving Blythe the space to offload to offload to opportunist Kearney down the left.
But they never really hit their straps in their attack and Saints showed what why they were tipped at the start of the campaign as contenders. Francis Meli broke through down the left edge and found the onrushing Lomax and the fullback for the day raced in for his hat trick score. Wheeler’s impressive touchline conversion gave Nathan Brown’s men a 28 point lead.
And all the positivity from the home crowd was far from gone when standoff Wheeler then fed Ade Gardner in on the right.
A last gasp try from Elliot Kear and conversion from Foster proved to be mere consolation as the Bulls were sent down to their first home defeat of the season.
Bradford Bulls: Kearney; Kear, Blythe, Lulia, Foster; Addy. Sammut; Scruton, Diskin, Sidlow, Olbison, Whitehead, Walker. Subs: L’Estrange, Donaldson, Langley, Manuokafoa.
St Helens: Lomax; Gardner, Turner, Jones, Meli; Wheeler,Wilkin; Puletua, Roby, Laffranchi,Manu, Soliola, Flanagan. Subs: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Walker, Greenwood, Walmsley.