St Helens see off battling Broncos

St Helens eased to victory in their final home game of the regular season, as they defeated London 30-0.

Despite the one-sided scoreline, Tony Rea’s Broncos put in a valiant display, and were perhaps unfortunate not to at least get a score on the board.

It seemed like the writing was on the wall for the visitors when Tony Puletua strolled through a large hole in the Broncos defence to score under the sticks on three minutes, but that proved to be the only score until four minutes before the break.

Between then, London proved more than a match for St Helens, as they huffed and puffed on the Saints line, only to find it permanently closed.

Tony Clubb‘s intercept set the field position for a high Craig Gower kick to be claimed by Luke Dorn, only for Omari Caro to be denied close to the line.

They forced a repeat set, and three consecutive penalties appeared to lay the platform for an equalising score, but it never came.

After a stern test to their defence, Saints broke up the other end, and should have scored when Lance Hohaia‘s searching pass out wide went over Francis Meli and in to touch.

Mike Rush’s half-time team talk was eased slightly by Mark Flanagan, who followed up Jonny Lomax‘s break to take the offload over his left shoulder and touch down, to put Saints 10-0 to the good at the break.

Rush clearly got to his men in the interval, and they upped the intensity after the break. A dreadful error from Caro, who failed to deal with a grubber from Lomax, presented an easy second try for Flanagan.

When Paul Wellens wriggled his way over for a fourth Saints try minutes later, it looked like the floodgates were open.

But Rea’s Broncos are made of sterner stuff, and they dug in, forcing more pressure at the other end, only to go unrewarded once again.

The Australian will have been encouraged by parts of their performance ahead of next season, including that of homegrown talent Kieran Dixon, who showed flashes of excitement throughout the match.

Wellens’ second try on the hour mark ensured the game was well and truly in the bag, and Saints went through the motions for the final quarter, as they prepare for more pressing tests in the week to come.

The home fans were sent home with something further to cheer about, as Anthony Laffranchi found a gap to go under the sticks shortly before the hooter sounded, to round off the win.

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