NEW St Helens coach Nathan Brown called on his players to “hold their nerve” after crashing to a shock 40-4 home defeat by his old club Huddersfield in their opening Super League fixture.
The Giants piled on the misery for their former coach as they scored seven tries to one in pulling off their first away win over St Helens since 1978.
Huddersfield’s new prop forward recruits Stuart Fielden and Craig Kopczak laid the early platform for captain Danny Brough to dictate play, while England centre Leroy Cudjoe led the scoring with a brace of tries.
Brown, who ended his four-year stay at the Yorkshire club last July, paid tribute to the Giants’ forward domination but insisted all is not lost for his new club.
“From one game to the next in the friendlies we showed some improvement and we trained to a standard where we were reasonably happy,” he said.
“But, at the end of the day, the physical part of the game is where it’s won and lost and we got physically dominated.
“We knew Huddersfield had recruited really well and they will rattle up some scores.
“They did really well, hats off to them. Broughy got to play in a dinner suit tonight.
“I thought we’d do a bit better than we did but we need to hold our nerve. It’s a long year.”
St Helens, who gave debuts to former Hull duo Jordan Turner and Willie Manu, trailed 40-0 until Mark Flanagan scored a late consolation try.
Wingers Luke George and Jermaine McGillvary scored Huddersfield’s other tries, along with forwards Shaun Lunt, Larne Patrick and Brett Ferres, with Brough kicking five goals until coming off with a back spasm.
Under Brown, Huddersfield won at Wigan in the opening round last year only to fade in the second half and his successor Paul Anderson is determined to ensure his players do not get carried away with tonight’s victory.
“It’s fair to say we got the bounce of the ball but sometimes you make those things happen,” Anderson said.
“There was a good collective through the team but we can’t lose sight of where we’re at.
“My job is to keep people’s feet on the ground. There were parts of the game where we were good and parts of the game where we weren’t so good. There is still massive improvement to come.
“We will enjoy ourselves, understand where we’re at and, when the time is right, put our focus into round two.”