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Saints alive! Rhinos routed
Lomax scores two tries, kicks seven goals to lead rout of champions
St Helens began life under the interim coaching team of Mike Rush and Keiron Cunningham with a 46-6 thrashing of Leeds at Langtree Park.
The repeat of last year's Grand Final turned out to be a complete procession as the hosts, boosted by the return of the influential James Roby, ran riot.
Jonny Lomax, another player back in action, went over for two tries and kicked seven goals for a personal haul of 22 points, while the new-look wing pairing of Ade Gardner and Gary Wheeler also touched down twice each.
The resounding result came at the end of a tumultous week that had begun with Royce Simmons losing his job after the club suffered their worst ever start to a Super League campaign.
How the Australian, who came within 17 points of taking the team to the title last season, must've wished the dynamic duo of Lomax and Roby had been fit to face Bradford the previous Saturday.
Back from a leg injury, Roby immediately made his mark on proceedings with a high bomb to the right corner that was claimed by a leaping Gardner, the winger climbing in front of a rather statuesque Ryan Hall to catch and finish.
A short pass from the England international then set up Lomax, who stepped inside a pair of sleeping Rhinos to reach the line from close range, for his first of the afternoon, while Roby and Jon Wilkin combined soon after to give Wheeler a clear run-in to the line.
When Tony Puletua's burst caught Leeds flat, paving the way for Lomax to go over again, Saints were going at more than a-point-a-minute against the reigning champions.
Leeds managed to survive through to half time without suffering any further damage, though their faces again matched their bright red hair, all in aid of Sport Relief, as they conceded two minutes into the second period.
Lee Smith's sloppiness in dealing with a deep kick gave up a drop out, leading to Paul Wellens dummying his way through on the left.
The wounded Rhinos at least spared themselves from a humiliating shut-out with a try from centre Zak Hardaker, who finished off a break from Hall.
The score briefly rallied the visitors and only a flick off Kallum Watkins' arms, spotted by the video referee before he checked the grounding, denied Ben Jones-Bishop a try in the corner.
Saints, however, seemed to be stung back into life by the let-off.
Lance Hohaia got a try his personal display deserved, his first for the club since arriving from New Zealand, and a fine team move put Gardner in at the right corner to complete his brace.
Lomax maintained his perfect record with the boot from the touchline but then missed his final attempt, the half-back unable to add the extras after Wheeler went over with four minutes remaining.
A chorus of ironic boos greeted the scrum-capped player's failure off the kicking tee, for it was probably the only error St Helens had made all night. Crisis? What crisis! Bring on a trip to Warrington next week...
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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