Super League: St Helens 26-10 London Broncos
|Betfred Super League|
|St Helens (16) 26|
|Tries: Peyroux, Grace, Fages, Coote, Naiqama Goals: Coote 3|
|London Broncos (0) 0|
St Helens returned to the top of Super League by making it five wins from five matches this season with a comfortable victory over London Broncos.
They were ahead early when Dominique Peyroux went over, but London then put in a stubborn defensive effort.
Regan Grace eventually broke that and Theo Fages quickly followed him over to secure a healthy half-time lead.
The Broncos still dug in after the break, restricting Saints to scores from Lachlan Coote and Kevin Naiqama.
Justin Holbrook's side were the division's dominant team in 2018, but fell at the semi-final stage when huge favourites to add the Grand Final trophy to the League Leaders' Shield.
And they have made the perfect start in their bid to make up for that disappointment with the way they have begun this campaign.
Perhaps wary of London's impressive wins against Wakefield and reigning Grand Final winners Wigan, they turned in a workmanlike performance that rarely gave their opponents a sniff.
While Danny Ward's newly-promoted side deserve plenty of praise for their application, the scoreline fairly reflects how they were thoroughly outclassed.
Once Peyroux had barged over, Saints, without rested hooker James Roby, were made to work hard for further tries but there was no let-up in intensity.
Naiquama's superb run and backhand pass helped send Grace in to touch down and, when Fages finished off a bulldozing move, victory was all but assured.
As the Broncos continued to battle hard, Fages broke through their defensive line before sending Coote in to send Saints two points clear at the top, although Naiquama then capped his own impressive display with a late score of his own.
St Helens coach Justin Holbrook:
"I want to give our boys a big rap. These can be difficult games and we turned up and put in a quality performance which is the most pleasing thing. We kept calm and it was a great performance.
"I can see why London have won a couple of games and how they got promoted to Super League. They are a hard-working team and they did that again. We were unlucky and could have scored another four or five tries, but to their credit they kept turning up.
"James Roby picked up a slight niggle at the end of the game last week and we thought he would be OK. But he hurt it at training. He will be fine for next week. And it was great to give young Aaron Smith a game. He's a great young player and he did really well."
London Broncos head coach Danny Ward:
"We had a lot of numbers out injured this evening and I thought the lads who stepped in did a fantastic job.
"Jake Ogden was making his Super League debut in the centres up against Naiqama, Rob Butler - a young kid - started at prop and was outstanding as well I thought.
"Will the others come back in when they're fit? I don't know now because some boys have now earned a crack."
St Helens: Lomax, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Fages, Walmsley, Thompson, Taia, Knowles, Peyroux, Smith, Coote.
Interchange: Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Ashworth.
London Broncos: Davis, Walker, Williams, Kear, Abdull, Battye, Pelissier, Lovell, Fleming, Yates, Butler, Ogden, Smith.
Interchange: Ioane, Adebiyi, Fozard, Gee.