Injury woes leave Bulls vulnerable at Saints

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St Helens avenged their defeat at Odsal in March with a 10-try show against an injury-hit Bradford Bulls.

Teenager Josh Jones led the way with a hat-trick and skipper Paul Wellens and Jonny Lomax grabbed two tries each as Bradford, backing up only four days after beating Castleford, trailed 28-0 at half-time.

Tommy Makinson plundered 18 points with a try and seven goals from nine attempts.

St Helens welcomed back Anthony Laffranchi and 11-try top scorer Francis Meli who missed Sunday’s draw at Hull.

Ade Gardner was still sidelined, with Shaun Magennis suspended, and Jones, who has signed a new three-year contract, partnered Castleford-bound Michael Shenton in the centre.

Bradford were missing Brett Kearney, Jarrod Sammut, Matt Diskin, Jason Crookes, James Donaldson, Nick Scruton, Elliot Kear, Craig Kopczak and Chev Walker, with Adrian Purtell awaiting further tests after suffering a heart attack a fortnight ago.

Saints took only six minutes to go ahead when Wellens wriggled over the line after Lance Hohaia was held short but Makinson was off target with the conversion.

Sia Soliola was proving a handful for Bradford who faced a strong wind in the first half and the Bulls held out until the 21st minute when slick handling between Lomax and Hohaia put Jones over to open up a 10-0 lead.

Bradford’s task became even tougher oon after when Lomax took a return pass from Soliola, who brushed off Keith Lulia, to sweep under the posts for 16-0.

Wilkin’s kick then caused havoc in the Bulls defence with Jones latching on to a loose ball for a scrambled try on the half-hour with Makinson converting.

Lomax carved Bradford apart with a weaving run to send Francis Meli over just before the break and open up a 28-0 advantage.

John Bateman, linked with a move to Warrington, gave the Bradford fans something to cheer with a strong run early in the second half.

But the Bulls conceded a sixth try when Wellens pounced on James Roby’s kick to make it 34-0 after 52 minutes.

It became worse for Bradford when Makinson went over before Hohaia strolled through woeful defence to extend the lead to 44-0.

Saints rattled up a half-century of points for only the second time this season when Lomax finished off a superb move in style before Jones completed his hat-trick.

St Helens: Wellens, Makinson, Shenton, J. Jones, Meli, Hohaia, Lomax, Perry, Roby, Laffranchi, Puletua, Soliola, Wilkin. Substitutes: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Flannery, Flanagan, Clough.

Bradford Bulls: Platt, Ainscough, Whitehead, Lulia, Pryce, Jeffries, Gale, Langley, L’Estrange, Hargreaves, Olbison, Bateman, Elima. Substitutes: Manuokafoa, Sibbit, Burgess, Addy.

Referee: T Roby (RFL)

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