ST Helens coach Nathan Brown has warned that his team must toughen up as they prepare to take on his former side Huddersfield tonight.
Saints, who have slipped out of the play-off positions ahead of their Monday night trip to the John Smith’s Stadium, have lost five of their last six Super League matches.
It is an unfamiliar position for one of the summer era’s most successful clubs and Brown knows where improvement is needed.
The Australian said: “We have had some very ugly starts.
“Sometimes you can be playing very well and still be down 10-0 but we have allowed some sides to get across the line too quickly too easily.
“We need to be making it harder for the opposition to get 10 or 12 up. That is the key.
“If we get that bit right I am sure those things will improve.”
Brown knows the Giants well having played a key role in their emergence as genuine contenders.
Brown spent three-and-a-half years with the club before a loss of form last season - after the announcement he was to move to Saints - hastened his departure.
Huddersfield go into the game second in the table and having been among the high-flyers all season.
Brown is not surprised by their success or that of his replacement, and former assistant, Paul Anderson.
He said: “He is a good fella and he’s done a good, long apprenticeship.
“He understands the club well and the players well. He probably had a bit of a head start there, at the back end of last year.
“’Baloo’ was always the number one choice to take over there and I always endorsed it because I knew he would do a good job.
“He knew what he had to take on to improve the club and he’s doing it.”
Saints - thrashed 40-4 by Huddersfield in their first game of the season - are boosted for the trip by the return of hooker James Roby after two months out while Paul Wellens and Francis Meli also return.
Huddersfield have Joe Wardle back from suspension and Michael Lawrence and David Faiumu available after injury.
Giants half-back Luke Robinson feels his career progressed under Brown but says there can be no room for sentiment this week.
He said: “Generally I think you play a bit harder against your mates because you want to get one over on them so hopefully that will be the case this weekend.
“We can’t be focusing on Nathan Brown or St Helens, we need to just be concentrating on ourselves and making sure that we play to the best of our ability.”