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Super League: St Helens win at Catalan Dragons to boost play-off hopes
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Tommy Makinson and Paul Wellens both scored two tries as St Helens claimed a third straight Super League win with a 26-6 victory over Catalan Dragons at Stade Gilbert Brutus.
Victory moved St Helens above the Dragons into fifth place with three rounds of the regular season to play.
Early scores from Francis Meli and Makinson put Saints ahead and while centre Morgan Escare helped Catalan back into the match midway through the first half, his converted try was to prove mere consolation.
Makinson crossed again just after half-time, while Wellens - on his 400th Super League appearance for St Helens - made the game safe with two tries.
Former Saints half-back Leon Pryce was denied by some stout defending from the visitors, who took a 15th-minute lead when Meli crossed after some patient build-up play, while Makinson touched down in the corner following a sharp pass from Jonny Lomax.
That put the visitors 10-0 ahead although they were dealt a blow when half-back Gareth O'Brien, who had added the extras to Meli's try, was stretchered off after being taken out by Zeb Taia in an off-the-ball collision, with the New Zealander put on report.
The deficit was narrowed to four points after Escare's try was converted by Thomas Bosc, which acted as a catalyst for Catalan to lay siege on the Saints' half.
Nathan Brown's men were resolute in their defending, though, and kept their line in tact before re-asserting themselves after the interval, with Makinson superbly grounding following Jon Wilkin's up and under.
Catalan's frustrations boiled over as they were reduced to 12 men when Antoni Maria was sin binned for a rash challenge on Adam Swift, with St Helens making their man advantage count when Wellens touched down from Anthony Howarth's pass to mark his landmark game for his boyhood club in style.
Jordan Turner, taking over the kicking duties from O'Brien, put Saints 20-6 ahead, although the bad blood between the sides flared up again when Catalan prop Michael Simon and opposite number Alex Walmsley's disagreement led to a melee, with Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Maria, once again, being yellow carded.
And Catalan's misery was compounded as Wellens ran in for his second try, converted once more by Turner, to seal victory for Saints.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Leeds 20 - 24 Catalan Dragons|
|Warrington 22 - 19 Widnes|
|Friday 19th September|
|St Helens 41 - 0 Castleford|
|Thursday 18th September|
|Wigan 57 - 4 Huddersfield|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Wakefield 18 - 42 Hull K R|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Catalan Dragons 28 - 6 Castleford|
|London Broncos 36 - 46 Bradford|
|Friday 12th September|
|Salford 36 - 6 Widnes|
|Huddersfield 17 - 16 St Helens|
|Hull 24 - 19 Leeds|
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