FRANCIS Meli bagged a double as St Helens ran in seven tries against Super League’s bottom club London Broncos.
Saints were in control from start to finish and the poor Broncos offered little by way of a reply.
The Broncos were without influential full-back Luke Dorn, who looks to have played his last game for the club due to a hip injury, and winger Michael Robertson through an elbow problem.
Scott Wheeldon was also out with a torn calf muscle which meant the Broncos had to throw in who they could.
Saints’ major absentee was pivot Gareth O’Brien, who was stood down by coach Nathan Brown after being rocked in recent weeks with some punishing challenges.
London started brightly enough and did not deserve to be 6-0 down, but they undid some good work when Jamie Soward threw an interception pass to Willie Manu. Saints quickly spread the ball from right to left and Meli sent in Adam Swift for the opener.
The extras were tagged on by Jonny Lomax and he should have been kicking another conversion minutes later but Josh Jones failed to carry the ball with the line at his mercy.
London regrouped slightly, absorbing a couple of decent St Helens attacks, but it did not last for long as stand-off Jon Wilkin sent Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook through to the line with a superb short ball.
The try was converted by Lomax and he almost scampered over for a try himself from the next attack as he was sent clear but the Broncos’ scrambling defence managed to drag him down just in time.
Saints were not to be denied again though as Paul Wellens, on for Saints in search of his 1000th career point, sparked a move which eventually led to Meli powering over out wide.
The Broncos showed plenty of character and resilience in the first period, without doing anything spectacular, and were not out of it with only a couple of tries to make up.
But they suddenly made life hard for themselves in the closing minutes of the half as some slack defending put the home side in again. This time it was Jordan Tansey’s neat pass to his winger Tom Makinson, who crossed.
The pressure did not let up for London after the restart as Wellens created a try for Anthony Walker from the play-the-ball.
At 28-0 the game was well over as a contest, and the out-of-sorts Soward was then sent to the sin-bin after interfering in the ruck after Alex Walmsley’s tremendous burst.
Saints converted that pressure to points as Lomax went over from Wellens’ stab through.
The Broncos did get one back though through centre Daniel Sarginson but the kickable conversion was pulled by Soward, which summed up the visitors’ evening.
There was one more try for the Broncos, from centre Iliess Macani, and it was probably deserved as the rookie three-quarter worked hard against some tough opposition backs.
But Meli touched down in the last minute to add gloss to the scoreline for Saints.