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St Helens 34 Hull KR 28: Saints leave it late

St Helens 34 Hull KR 28: Saints leave it late to see off Rovers and move up to third

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UPDATED:

07:39 GMT, 30 June 2012

St Helens produced a late flourish to snatch victory at home to Hull KR on Friday night in a game they looked like throwing away.

Late tries from Anthony Laffranchi and Tony Puletua earned Saints the spoils to push them up to third in the Super League table.

But it looked like they were going to squander a 26-point lead at one stage.

Saints raced into a 26-0 lead thanks to braces from Paul Wellens and Josh Jones, but they were far from home and dry.

Scott Taylor and Sam Latus both scored twice as Hull KR, who trailed by 10 points at the break, went in front by two points, but Saints responded late on to claim victory.

Hull KR's bus broke down to cause them to arrive late at Langtree Park and they were slow out of the blocks as, after a penalty, scrum-half Jonny Lomax ghosted through to plant the ball beneath the posts.

Tommy Makinson slotted the extras and with two fine long-range kicks from the recalled Lee Gaskell, back in at stand-off for the injured Lance Hohaia, Saints continued to press.

The pressure told when Lomax held the ball up well for the supporting Wellens to go over for a try.

Hull KR, off the back of three successive penalties, had a short spell of pressure on the Saints' line, but that came to nothing with Saints countering ruthlessly.

Gaskell's boot was again profitable with the young stand-off's grubber kick bouncing kindly into the grateful arms of Wellens, who was left with the formality of picking up and touching down.

Makinson's goal made it 16 points after as many minutes and Saints were soon back for more.

Another fine attacking kick, this time from Jon Wilkin, was collected and touched down by teenage centre Jones, with Makinson again slotting the conversion.

Rovers then had a spell of pressure, but Constantine Mika's haste to offload backfired when Tony Puletua picked up to spark a length of the field move.

The New Zealander ate up the early yards before offloading to compatriot Francis Meli, who took play upfield before supplying the scoring pass for Jones.

But Rovers roared back with three tries in the last 10 minutes of the half.
A close-range try from Taylor started the ball rolling, with Michael Dobson adding the extras.

A lost ball from Saints' Chris Flannery was then swiftly punished by the suddenly alert Rovers with Graeme Horne sending Latus in at the corner.

On the stroke of half-time Scott Murrell and Ben Galea combined to send Latus in for his second try, with Dobson's goal going in off the uprights to make it 26-16 at the break.

Taylor cashed in a spilled Meli ball to go in for his second try, goaled by Dobson.

Rovers hit the front for the first time when Josh Hodgson touched down Dobson's grubber kick, the latter's conversion putting the visitors two points in front.

But eight minutes from time, on the back of a penalty and a six again, Anthony Laffranchi ran a good line to crash through from close range.
Makinson missed the easy conversion to add to the tension.

And late in the game Meli broke down the wing and Puletua forced his way over to make sure of victory.

Salford 10 St Helens 32: Saints making late surge under Rush

Salford 10 St Helens 32: Saints making late surge under Rush

PUBLISHED:

22:40 GMT, 22 June 2012

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UPDATED:

22:40 GMT, 22 June 2012

Mike Rush hailed Jon Wilkin's impact as St Helens produced 32 unanswered points to secure a dogged win.

Saints came back from 10-0 down after Vinnie Anderson and Danny Williams had got the Reds off to a flyer and Rush said: 'Jon's been in good form a few weeks now. He pushes, kicks and defends really well.

'He's having a very good season for us. We took our chances well.'

Thomas Makinson of St Helens (L) evades a tackle from Jodie Broughton of Salford City to score their third try

Thomas Makinson of St Helens (L) evades a tackle from Jodie Broughton of Salford City to score their third try

Josh Jones and Lance Hohaia levelled the scores for Saints before Wilkin's high kick saw Tommy Makinson edge the visitors ahead. Tries for Jonny Lomax, Michael Shenton and Paul Wellens sealed the points.

'We were in the game right until the end. I'm disappointed for a lot of the guys in the dressing room,' said Salford boss Phil Veivers.

Salford let slip a 10-0 lead against St Helens for the second time this season as Rush's men continued their impressive run in the Stobart Super League.

The Reds conceded 38 points without reply in going down 38-10 at Langtree Park in February and there was a touch of deja vu as they were once more unable to maintain their early promise, with Saints finishing strongly at the City of Salford Stadium.

Saints have now lost just two of 11 league matches under Rush and Keiron Cunningham, both to leaders Wigan, and have their sights set firmly on a seventh consecutive Grand Final appearance.

Salford have little left to play for apart from pride but the final scoreline did little justice to their efforts, with the visitors running in three converted tries in the last six minutes. St Helens were without prop Josh Perry but they had all nine players involved in last Saturday's internationals and two of them, Lance Hohaia and Jonny Lomax, especially caught the eye.

Yet Salford dominated the first half, highlighted by touches of class from stand-off Daniel Holdsworth in particular, and they deserved their 10-6 half-time lead.

Hohaia breached the Salford line midway through the first half but referee James Child had spotted an obstruction and it was the Reds who opened the scoring three minutes later.

Inevitably, Holdsworth was at the heart of the move as he supplied the final pass for former St Helens back rower Vinnie Anderson to go past Paul Wellens for a try, to which Holdsworth added the conversion.

Hohaia had another try disallowed, this time for a knock-on, before Salford stretched their lead through Danny Williams.

The former Newcastle Falcons winger, who this week signed a new two-year contract, produced a superb finish after Salford ran the ball on the last tackle and Chris Nero cleverly drew the Saints defence out of position.

St Helens hauled themselves back into the game just before the break when centre Josh Jones collected Hohaia's towering kick to touch down and Tom Makinson added the goal to cut the gap to four points.

It was all square two minutes into the second half when Hohaia went over from dummy half for Saints' second try and the visitors went in front for the first time on 53 minutes when Jon Wilkin's kick hung in the wind and enabled centre Michael Shenton to get Makinson over at the corner.

Makinson was unable to master the wind with either of his latest conversion attempts but, at 14-10, the momentum was firmly with the visitors.

The Reds continued to look lively but they suffered a blow when tough-tackling forward Shannon McPherson hobbled off on 65 minutes and there was no way back for them when Wellens tapped the ball back from Wilkin's high kick for Lomax to touch down.

Saints then made sure with two further tries through Shenton, who followed up his own grubber kick, and Wellens, with substitute Lee Gaskell kicking three conversions.

Leeds 18 St Helens 31: Kevin Sinfield landmark can"t prevent Rhinos defeat

Leeds 18 St Helens 31: Sinfield landmark can't prevent Rhinos defeat

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UPDATED:

22:08 GMT, 21 May 2012

Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield scored his 3,000th point for the club, but St Helens put a dampener on his celebrations by completing a Stobart Super League double.

Scrum-half Jonny Lomax scored two of his side's five tries as Saints bounced back from their Challenge Cup exit at the hands of arch rivals Wigan to inflict more misery on their 2011 Grand Final conquerors.

Leeds twice held the lead as they attempted to avenge their 46-6 defeat at Langtree Park in March, but St Helens produced a strong finish to secure the points and leave their rivals trailing in eighth place at the half-way stage of the regular season.

Battling through: Iosia Soliola of St Helens tries to break through the tackle of Jamie Jones-Buchanan

Battling through: Iosia Soliola of St Helens tries to break through the tackle of Jamie Jones-Buchanan

The champions made the brighter start with full-back Brent Webb, making his 150th start for the club, producing an arcing run to get winger Ryan Hall charging down the wing and stand-off Danny McGuire was on his inside to take the pass and score the opening try after 11 minutes.

Sinfield's first goal of the night took him past 3,000 points, but Saints half-backs Lance Hohaia and Lomax, criticised for their lack of creativity against Wigan, were full of invention this time and the visitors' attacking options increased when ball-handling forward Tony Puletua made his comeback from injury from the bench midway through the first half.

They drew level when Hohaia's kick toward the Leeds line re-bounded off defender Lee Smith into the grateful arms of Lomax, who forced his way over near the posts for his first try.

And Saints went in front 10 minutes later when a superb Puletua offload got the ever-dangerous James Roby into space and Lomax was in support to get skipper Paul Wellens over for his sixth try in his last six matches.

Tommy Makinson added both conversions to put his side 12-6 in front, but Sinfield dragged his side level just before half-time when broke through the first line of defence to send second rower Brett Delaney over for a second try.

The Yorkshiremen looked to have put themselves in the driving seat when second rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan took Webb's pass and went between two defenders for a third try seven minutes into the second half and Sinfield's third goal restored their six-point advantage.

But Saints roared back with two tries in eight minutes to go back in front.

Makinson took Michael Shenton's one-handed pass to produce a wonderful finish, surviving a shoulder charge by Webb to plant the ball down one-handed by the corner flag and Lomax took a return pass from Sia Soliola to score his second try.

Makinson kicked his third goal to make it 22-18 but it proved to be his last contribution to the game.

Play was held up for five minutes so that Makinson could be treated for a head injury before being carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital and Sinfield was placed on report for the challenge that appeared to knock him unconscious.

Saints got the penalty from the incident and set up an attacking position from which they scored the match winning try, with loose forward Jon Wilkin taking Roby's pass to go through a hole in the Leeds defence.

Lomax added the conversion and put the seal on a superb win with a penalty and a drop goal to put the visitors out of sight.

St Helens 10 Hull 22

St Helens 10 Hull 22: Black and Whites fight back to pile misery on Saints

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UPDATED:

22:58 GMT, 9 March 2012

Hull came from behind to consign St Helens to their fourth game without a win.

The Black and Whites produced a resilient performance to keep chipping away at a Saints side low on confidence, if not commitment.

Saints had led 10-4 and appeared in control until the game turned when Jordan Turner raced the length of the field from a sloppy Josh Perry pass.

Going nowhere: St Helens' Anthony Laffranchi tackles Hull FC's Tom Briscoe

Going nowhere: St Helens' Anthony Laffranchi tackles Hull FC's Tom Briscoe

Three Danny Tickle penalties had more or less clinched it for Hull before Wade McKinnon nipped on to a Richard Horne grubber to twist the knife, and send the Saints fans in the 14,875 crowd home unhappy.

Saints got off to an awful start when the Hull kick-off was left by Lee Gaskell and bounced through the fingers of a surprised Tony Puletua to gift the visitors a period of early pressure.

Hull forced a repeat set from a smart kick from Brett Seymour, but the resolute home defence stood firm.

Saints took play downfield and had an early chance to open their account when Jonny Lomax dabbed through a fine attacking grubber, which just evaded the grasp of the supporting prop Anthony Laffranchi.

Both sides tested each other out with long raking kicks on both sides making both teams bring the ball from deep.

The game remained scoreless until the 22nd minute when, after Tickle had been penalised for a heavy challenge on Sia Soliola, Saints made their good position tell.

The ball was flashed right, with Lomax, Lance Hohaia and Michael Shenton releasing wing Ade Gardner who had two men to beat on the line, but went head first to touch the ball down.

Jamie Foster, back in the side after being dropped last week, just drifted his touchline conversion attempt to the left of the uprights.

Hull hit back on the half-hour mark when a sizzling solo effort from full-back McKinnon left the Saints defence clutching thin air on his dummying and stepping run to the line.

Tickle missed the conversion and there was no further score with the teams going in level at the break.

Saints were first on the scoresheet six minutes after the restart when big man Puletua dummied and turned to stretch over for a try goaled by Foster.

Saints seemed to have the game in control and were playing a patient brand of football until Perry's attempted flick pass went to ground and was snapped up by speedster Turner, who raced 80 metres to touch down.

Tickle's touchline conversion just about scraped over and then 15 minutes from time he gave Hull the lead for the first time when he slotted a 30-metre penalty to make it 12-10.

Hull had the game by the scruff of the neck, and forced another repeat through a smart kick. The pressure told and Saints gave away another penalty within Tickle's range to put the visitors four points up with 10 minutes to play.

And Tickle's boot made the game safe with another penalty – this time for obstruction – four minutes from time.

The game was already sewn up when McKinnon added the final touch.

Huddersfield 17 St Helens 16

Huddersfield 17 St Helens 16: George inspires Giants to close gap at top

Huddersfield winger Luke George scored his second hat-trick of the season to help the Giants to a thrilling win over St Helens that takes them to within a point of Stobart Super League leaders Warrington.

George's third try, a 90-metre spectacular created by man of the match Danny Brough, was the highlight of a dramatic second half in which both teams had their chances to take the points.

St Helens, who led 12-4 at half-time, scored their third try through Ade Gardner eight minutes from the end to close the gap to a point but Jonny Lomax failed with the touchline conversion.

On the way: Huddersfield's Luke George goes over to score his side's first try

On the way: Huddersfield's Luke George goes over to score his side's first try

Saints have now taken just a point from their last three matches and, more worryingly, lost influential hooker James Roby with a knee injury.

Roby, generally thought to be indestructible, fell into a heap following a tackle from Huddersfield winger Jermaine McGillvary 27 minutes into the match.

He bravely attempted to play on but was forced to hobble a couple of plays later.

Fortunately for Saints, they had a more-than-adequate replacement in the versatile Lance Hohaia, who has played hooker with distinction for New Zealand, and he helped to fill the considerable void.

After watching his side concede 70 points in their previous two matches, St Helens coach Royce Simmons will be delighted with their improved defence but they met their match in the tigerish Giants.

Clash: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook is tackled by Huddersfields' Kevin Brown

Clash: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook is tackled by Huddersfields' Kevin Brown

St Helens were shaken by the early enthusiasm of their hosts, who took the lead in the 16th minute when George took Luke Robinson's pass to finished decisively at the corner for his first try.

It took Saints some time to find their rhythm but half-backs Lee Gaskell and Lomax gradually began to boss the game.

It was Gaskell who brought the visitors level in the 28th minute, jinking his way through the Giants defence, and Lomax's conversion edged them ahead for the first time.

The game was still finely balanced when Huddersfield centre Leroy Cudjoe misjudged the pace of Lomax's grubber kick on the last tackle and, after believing the ball was going dead, watched in agony as the Saints scrum-half dived on it for a crucial score.

Hat-trick hero: Luke George

Hat-trick hero: Luke George

Lomax's second goal established an eight-point lead but it was down to just two five minutes into the second half when Kevin Brown and Michael Lawrence combined to get George over for his second try and Brough landed the touchline conversion.

Brough missed a chance to level the scores midway through the second half when he put a penalty kick wide but he more than made amends when he set up what proved to be the match-winning try.

The scrum-half collected Gaskell's kick five metres from his own line and bemused the back-pedalling Saints defence on a glorious 50-metre run before finding Scott Grix, who sent George over for his third try.

Brough's conversion was this time successful after the ball amazingly rebounded off both uprights as well as the crossbar and, as if to emphasise, he could do little wrong, he extended his side's lead to five points with a drop goal.

That was to prove decisive when St Helens winger Gardner squeezed over at the corner to make it 17-16, with Lomax's conversion attempt well wide.

Jon Wilkin signs new St Helens deal

Four more years! Wilkin set to end career at St Helens after penning new deal

Four more years: Wilkin has penned a new deal

Four more years: Wilkin has penned a new deal

England forward Jon Wilkin has effectively committed the rest of his career to St Helens after signing a new four-year contract.

The 28-year-old back rower, who will celebrate a 10-year testimonial with Saints in 2012, is now tied to the club until the end 2015.

Wilkin has made 231 appearances, scoring 74 tries, since joining Saints from Hull KR as an 18-year-old in 2003.

“It”s fantastic to pledge myself to St Helens for the next four seasons,” he said.

“I”ve had an amazing 10 years with them to date and am really looking forward to more success with them.

“We are all excited about the new season ahead at our new home, Langtree Park, and there is a real sense of expectation in the squad.”

The announcement comes just a week after St Helens scrum-half Jonny Lomax signed a new deal taking him to the end of 2015.

Saints chairman Eamonn McManus said: “Jon had a stand-out Four Nations recently where he more than proved himself against some of the best back rowers in the world.

“He is also now a senior member of the squad and a great ambassador for the club and for the game of rugby league.

“We are at the beginning of a new era for the Saints and Jon will be a key component of it.”