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Saints good for an hour but last 20 minutes disappoints
SAINTS scored a comfortable 46-22 over basement side Bradford, but they will be less than pleased with last quarter of the game which saw them leak four tries.
After last week’s mauling at Hull KR Saints needed to post a response and they looked like they had done that approaching the hour mark, when they had posted a 40-0 lead.
Saints had played some nice stuff in that opening hour with Paul Wellens’ 60 metre try being the highlight of a performance that keeps them on top of the league.
But in worrying similarity to last week, once the dam burst with a Luke Gale try the floodgates opened.
Saints could not get hold of the ball in the last 20 minutes and more scores followed with Joe Arundel touching down in the corner from a fortuitous bounce.
And shortly afterwards Adrian Purtell crossed after a break from deep, and with Saints unable to get any field position they allowed Bulls to play with some freedom, and were punished with a try in the corner from old boy Jamie Foster.
Thankfully Saints were able to wrestle the ball from the Bulls in the closing minutes, and that enabled them to wrap up the scoring with Wellens’ second.
Initially there had been some pleasing things for Saints’ followers to witness – with James Roby opening the scoring from a tapped Mark Flanagan penalty.
And they doubled that lead on 17 minutes when Flanagan collected a high ball and he unleashed Wellens who threaded his way through the first line of defenders and then pinned his ears back to roll back the years with a super score.
And although Saints had not really hit their straps they made it 18-0 on the half hour when big Mose Masoe scattered three defenders on 15 metre push to the line.
Saints’ tails were now up and Mark Percival collected Jon Wilkin’s pass to dash in from 20 metres.
And just before the break Adam Swift nipped in at the corner to make it a comfortable 28-0 lead at the break.
Saints started the second half as they finished the first and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook used good footwork and power to shift the defenders on a long range burst before popping the ball up for Lance Hohaia to scamper home.
And they looked all set to rattle in a cricket score when Tommy Makinson squeezed in at the corner.
But with the game won, then it began to unravel.
With nothing to lose Bulls threw caution to the wind and then got a few breaks – and then Saints could do nothing to stop that momentum.
It will certainly give them food for thought and plenty to work on through the late summer.
Saints: Wellens; Makinson, Turner, Percival, Swift; Hohaia, Wilkin; Amor, Roby, Walmsley, Flanagan, Soliola, Thompson. Subs: Masoe, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Manu, Laffranchi.
Bradford: Kearney; Williams, Henry, Purtell, Foster; Gaskell, Gale; Manuokafoa, O’Brien, Sidlow, Olbison, Pitts, Donaldson. Subs: Blythe, Addy, Fakir, Arundel.
Ref: R. Hicks.