Yates’ verdict: Saints’ chilling warning

Matty Smith suffered an eye injury at Leeds
Matty Smith suffered an eye injury at Leeds

Saints sent a chilling warning to their Super 8s rivals on Sunday ... ignore us at your peril!

They still face a monumental task to reach the Old Trafford Grand Final in early October but the manner in which they clinically and ruthlessly destroyed Wakefield Trinity in the final match of the regular Betfred Super League campaign suggests they will fear no one during the run-in.

A 41-16 score line represented the biggest hammering of the season for the Tykes and at the same time earned six-placed Saints revenge for the 16-12 defeat against the same opposition at the Totally Wicked Stadium in early March.

Like 2016, when they produced a late surge of form before bowing out 18-10 to neighbours Warrington Wolves in the play-off semi-finals, they are seemingly heading in the right direction again, having won seven of their last 10 league games.

And with Aussie Ben Barba’s 12-match ban for a drugs related offence Down Under drawing nearer to a close, he will eventually add an extra dimension to the side at a crucial stage of the season.

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook said: “We are in the mix which is exciting.

“I would have liked to carry on but unfortunately we’re not in the Challenge Cup semis so we’ll have a week off.

“It was a really good performance from us with the first half really pleasing.

“We knew how big a game it was for both teams and we really turned up. We lost our way a bit in the second half but found it again at the back end.

“After the Leeds game a lot of people said our season was over but I didn’t believe that. I knew we had performed well that night but just didn’t get the two points.”

Fears that the eye injury, which half back Matty Smith suffered at Leeds, would be a massive body blow to Saints’ Grand Final dreams have been allayed by the performances of 20-year-old Danny Richardson who has stepped in the breach in spectacular fashion and his try and late drop goal at Wakefield reflected his game-by-game improvement and he is proving to be the idea stand-in for his side-lined team-mate.

Holbrook said: “Danny is going well for us. He is loving playing and it is great for us to have him in the team and he will there for weeks to come if he continues playing the way he is.

“Along with Theo Fages, he is playing well. Both are combining really well which is what we need.”