|11th Feb 2006|| Super League||AWAY ||8213 ||(HT:24:6)|
|Age in brackets is at time of match - Total average age for this team is 25. - ** non-playing sub|
MATCH REPORT : New kit? Check. New signings? Check. New season? Check. Same old Saints? Most definitely. Harlequins – in name at least – presented a new proposition, but Saints showed why they are the bookmakers’ favourites to lift the Super League trophy in October with a seven-try showing.
Without injured captain Paul Sculthorpe, Saints still slotted into their attacking groove and always had too much quality for the Harlequins defence.
After an uncertain start, three tries in nine minutes midway through the first-half eased Saints to victory in front of 8,213 fans, which included a large vocal travelling support.
Paul Wellens crossed twice in as many minutes, the second finishing off a flowing 60 metre, five-man move, but the ‘Entertainers’ were not finished, scoring a try of the highest quality to open up a 24-6 lead.
Harlequins failed to execute a kick on the final tackle, with Francis Meli able to launch a counter-attack over the halfway line. With the defence struggling to get back, Sean Long hoisted a perfectly weighted lob to the right corner, which Jamie Lyon collected and reverse-flicked in one fluid movement for Ade Gardner to touch down.
After Ricky Sheriffe had finished off a clinical move for the home side, Wellens completed his hat-trick, scoring from halfway after a delightful pass out of the tackle from Jason Cayless, to effectively kill the game off with 25 minutes left.
Jason Hooper and Lyon added further tries for Saints, before Paul Sykes had the final word after Harlequins had broken through Saints’ defensive right.
Earlier Cayless had stretched out for a try on his debut, which had been cancelled out by a try from Harlequins’ Tyrone Smith.
STAR MAN: Paul Wellens – Remarkably his support play is still underrated, but his first two tries demonstrated his positional awareness and ability to read the play. His third was an excellent individual effort, as he became the second Saints player in consecutive competitive games to score a hat-trick.
Harlequins RL: Matthew Gafa; Ricky Sheriffe, Zebastian Luisi, Tyrone Smith, Nick Bradley Qalilawa; Luke Dorn, Thomas Leuluai; Karl Temata, Pat Weisner, Daniel Heckenberg, Robert Purdham, Lee Hopkins, Danny Williams.
Subs: Solomon Haumono, David Mills, Paul Sykes, Mark Tookey.
Tries: Smith, Sheriffe, Sykes.
Goals: Sykes (1/1), Gafa (1/2).
Saints: Paul Wellens, Ade Gardner, Jamie Lyon, Willie Talau, Francis Meli, Leon Pryce, Sean Long, Nick Fozzard, Keiron Cunningham, Jason Cayless, Lee Gilmour, Jon Wilkin, Jason Hooper.
Subs: James Roby, James Graham, Paul Anderson, Maurie Fa’asavalu.
Tries: Wellens (3), Cayless, Gardner, Hooper, Lyon.
Goals: Lyon (6/7)
Referee: R Silverwood
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