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IT'S ATELEA THE ONE! rugby league Vea leaves Black and Whites feeling blue.

Byline: GARETH WALKER Rugby Lge Correspondent

St Helens 31 Hull FC 10 ATELEA VEA'S second-half double condemned Cup winners Hull FC to defeat and kept the race for top spot wide open.

Back-rower Vea (above) twice crashed over from close range to ensure the Black and Whites did not open up a gap at the Super League summit.

And Saints boss Keiron Cunningham hailed Adam Swift's magic minute after it helped keep his side's chances of a home semifinal alive. Although Jack Owens finished with 18 points, Saints were also indebted to a try-saving tackle and stunning run by Swift that took the game away from the visitors with the score at 18-10.

Cunningham said: "He came up with some really big plays, whether it was in defence or with the SUPER 8 STANDINGS P Hull 27 Warrington 26 Wigan 27 ball.

St Helens 27 Catalans 26 Castleford 27 Widnes 27 Wakefield 27 "It was a turning point of the game, that period, and Adam was involved in two or three plays that helped the boys kick on.

"Hull had a real dig. It probably shocked the players a bit because we all know about hangovers from Challenge Cup finals."

Hull coach Lee Radford made seven changes to the side that lifted the trophy at Wembley, but they played their full part in a good contest and could have pushed Saints closer had Swift not bundled Steve Michaels into touch.

piapcbMt W D L F A Pts 190 8 713 52638 18 17 745 466 37 18 0 9 568 496 36 17 0 10 663 605 34 14 0 12 635 598 28 13 1 13 740 714 27 12 0 15 557 552 24 10 0 17 537 838 20 ao Radford said: "We asked them to go out as hard as they could early on, but we knew that one or two had fallen out of the pub on Tuesday at one point and understood we'd be under the pump. The effort was outstanding, and we still know that if we win our last three games then we finish with the League Leaders' Shield."

Hull took an early lead through Mahe Fonua, before the excellent Jonny Lomax created tries for Owens and Matty Fleming (top).

Vea's first appeared to put Saints in control, but Sika Manu's response kept Hull in the game.

After an Owens penalty, Swift then came up with his two big contributions, the second of which led to Vea's second try.

A Jordan Turner drop goal and Owens' own double - from another Lomax pass - sealed Saints' win.

SUPER 8 STANDINGS PWDLF APTS Hull 271908 713 52638 Warrington 26 18 1 7 745 466 37 Wigan 27 18 0 9 568 496 36 St Helens 27 17 0 10 663 605 34 Catalans 26 14 0 12 635 598 28 Castleford 27 13 1 13 740 714 27 Widnes 27 12 0 15 557 552 24 Wakefield 27 10 0 17 537 838 20

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 3, 2016
Words:499
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