Official Match Report
Sunday 21st June 2009 - KO.1500
Bradford (14) 18
St Helens (28) 44
Venue: Grattan Stadium
Halley, Sheriffe, Menzies, Nero, Tadulala, Jeffries, Deacon, Lynch, Newton, Scruton, Burgess, Morrison, Langley.
Replacements: Worrincy, Rinaldi, Whitehead, Kopczak.
St Helens squad
Wellens, Gardner, Gidley, Eastmond, Meli, Wilkin, Pryce, Hargreaves, Cunningham, Graham, Dean, Flannery, Gilmour.
Replacements: Clough, Roby, Fa'asavalu, Puletua.
R Sheriffe 1, S Tadulala 1, G Morrison 1,
P Deacon 3,
Drop Goals Scorers:
St Helens scorers
K Eastmond 1, F Meli 2, J Wilkin 1, C Flannery 1, J Roby 1, M Faasavalu 1, T Puletua 1,
K Eastmond 6,
Drop Goals Scorers:
History was made at Odsal as classy St Helens marched to their 16th successive away win to smash Bradford Bulls’ record of 15 straight victories set in 1997.
These old rivals have enjoyed so many classic battles down the years but this encounter merely reinforced the gulf which has developed between them in recent times.
Saints opened the scoring through Francis Meli before Bradford conjured an admirable response with converted tries from Glenn Morrison and Rikki Sheriffe.
Yet the visitors, strengthened by the introduction of powerhouse forwards Maurie Fa'asavalu and Tony Puletua, hit back with four more scores from James Roby, Jon Wilkin, Chris Flannery and Kyle Eastmond to lead 28-14 at the break.
There was no way back for Bradford thereafter as Semi Tadulala's 63rd-minute try proved little more than consolation for Steve McNamara’s men.
Saints were not done and tries from Fa'asavalu, Puletua and Meli added further gloss to the scoreline and gave them an impressive eight-try haul.
Victory was sweet revenge for Mick Potter's side following their shock 34-30 home defeat at the hands of the Bulls in April, and they are now undefeated on the road since losing at Castleford on April 6, 2008.
Sean Long was missing due to a calf strain but Saints began menacingly and it came as no surprise when they led inside the second minute following a sweeping move which culminated in former Bradford favourite Leon Pryce finding Meli with a fine pass.
Meli burrowed over in the left corner for a try which Eastmond failed to convert but the response from Bradford was admirable as they fashioned two tries in quick succession to forge 12-4 ahead.
In the fifth minute, Paul Deacon's clever reverse offload left the visiting defence bewildered and ushered Morrison over the line from close range.
It got even better for Bradford six minutes later when Steve Menzies collected possession on the halfway line, charged through a gaping hole in the St Helens rearguard and sent Sheriffe racing clear to cross in the right corner.
Deacon, at the heart of all Bradford's best moves during their early dominance, converted both scores and then added a penalty midway though the half to edge the Bulls further ahead.
Yet Saints began to wake up and they created the field position which led to Roby squeezing his way under the posts in the 27th minute.
The score breathed new life into the visitors and a delightful break from Eastmond and teasing grubber kick almost put Ade Gardner over in the right corner.
Saints continued to probe and were further rewarded in the 32nd minute when Flannery's kick caused havoc and Wilkin arrived at pace to touch down.
Eastmond added the simplest of conversions and then dived over the line himself on the stroke of half-time after Puletua's perfect offload sent him clear.
Eastmond added his fourth goal to send St Helens in at the break with a commanding 28-14 lead they never looked likely to relinquish.
In truth the second period was damp squib although Chris Nero's neat short offload put Tadulala over in the left corner shortly after the hour mark.
Deacon failed to convert and St Helens ran in further scores from Fa'asavalu, Puletua and Meli while Eastmond capped an impressive display with six goals from eight attempts.
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