Super League: St Helens go top with comfortable win over Salford
Last Updated: 02/06/14 10:14am
Paul Wellens: Crossed twice for Saints
Two-try veteran Paul Wellens provided the inspiration as St Helens powered to the top of the First Utility Super League with a convincing 32-12 win over lacklustre Salford.
Sia Soliola, Lance Hohaia and Gary Wheeler also touched down for dominant Saints at Langtree Park and Luke Walsh kick six goals but it was Wellens, still turning on the style at 34, who led the way.
Salford rarely threatened and were limited to consolation tries from Niall Evalds and Gareth Hock as they slumped to yet another defeat.
The much-hyped and revamped Red Devils have now won just once in eight games since replacing Brian Noble as coach with Iestyn Harris.
The opening quarter was scrappy with both sides being undermined in attack by handling errors or a lack of creativity.
It was a mistake from Salford full-back Greg Eden which led to Saints' opening score in the 17th minute as he fumbled a Walsh kick close to his own line.
Wellens, continuing to revel back in his old full-back slot in the absence of Jonny Lomax, took advantage as he crashed over from a Walsh pass.
Salford, as they did all too often, looked to Rangi Chase to spark a response but Wellens proved he has lost none of his awareness in defence either as he coolly defused the scrum-half's kick.
Salford were cut open as Mark Flanagan weaved his way through a number of tackles before Soliola applied the finishing touch from close range.
Walsh landed his first conversion of the evening and moments later was kicking another after Hohaia took up an attack following a Jon Wilkin break to score a third try.
Salford were lacking cohesion and drive and almost conceded again before the break as James Roby dabbed a kick through for Wilkin but the ball just ran dead. Wilkin appeared to hurt his arm in a collision as he stretched for the ball and he was forced to leave the action.
Salford left the field looking dispirited but Harris' half-time team-talk provided some motivation as they started the second period positively.
Evalds in particular started to look dangerous and was twice denied by last-ditch tackles before eventually pouncing on a Chase kick to register a belated try for the visitors out wide.
Tim Smith added a difficult conversion but any thoughts of a Salford fightback were quickly quashed as Wellens chipped forward and Wheeler raced in for a fourth Saints try.
Two more goals from Walsh took the game further out of reach before Wellens capped an outstanding display by finishing off a sweeping move on the right.
Salford did show some quality to piece together a good move for Hock to cross for a Smith-converted try but the lack of celebration told its own story.
Wellens thought he might have claimed a hat-trick with seven minutes remaining but was stopped just short of the line.
First Utility Super League
Thu 26th Mar
Salford Red Devils36 - 8Widnes Vikings
Fri 27th Mar
Castleford Tigers20 - 14Hull FC
Hull K R24 - 22St Helens
Warrington Wolves10 - 29Huddersfield Giants
Wigan Warriors52 - 10Wakefield Wildcats
Sat 28th Mar
Catalans Dragons22 - 38Leeds Rhinos
Thu 2nd Apr
Hull FCvsHull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Fri 3rd Apr
Castleford TigersvsLeeds Rhinos
Wigan WarriorsvsSt Helens
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Mon 6th Apr
Warrington WolvesvsCastleford Tigers
Hull K R0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Wigan Warriors
St Helens0 - 0Hull FC
Catalans DragonsvsWidnes Vikings
Fri 10th Apr
Hull FCvsWidnes Vikings
Sat 11th Apr
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Castleford TigersvsHull K R
Sun 12th Apr
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0St Helens
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Apr
Wigan WarriorsvsWarrington Wolves
Fri 17th Apr
St HelensvsLeeds Rhinos
Sun 19th Apr
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Apr
Wakefield WildcatsvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Apr
Hull FC0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Leeds RhinosvsWarrington Wolves
St Helens0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 25th Apr
Catalans DragonsvsHull K R
Sun 26th Apr
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 30th Apr
Huddersfield GiantsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 1st May
Hull FC0 - 0Salford Red Devils
St Helens0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 3rd May
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 7th May
Hull K RvsWakefield Wildcats
Fri 8th May
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Sat 9th May
Catalans DragonsvsSt Helens
Sun 10th May
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Hull FC
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Thu 21st May
Castleford TigersvsHuddersfield Giants
Fri 22nd May
Hull FC0 - 0St Helens
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Hull K R
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Sat 23rd May
Catalans DragonsvsWigan Warriors
Sun 24th May
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Super League 2014, round 15
Ahead of round 16 in Super League we look at this season's best and worst so far.
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