Nathan Brown admitted he was a little surprised that Sunday’s clash with Castleford at Langtree Park was a top of the table clash - not because Saints find themselves near the summit, but because Castleford have maintained their impressive early-season momentum.
But he was full of praise for Cas’s coach Daryl Powell, who he described as “probably the best English coach I’ve seen since I came over here”.
He said: “It’s obviously very close at the top of the league and the side that gets some consistency at the back end of the year and has some luck with putting bodies on the field will be there or thereabouts.
“You need most of your better players out there most of the time - that’s the reality of it. You can pick up a few results with lots of players out but it’s hard to do that consistently.
“I expected us to improve, which we obviously have done, and thought Leeds would be the team to beat - but Cas have given us all a bit of a surprise. They’ve thrown a cat amongst the pigeons this year.
“They’re playing well - it was no fluke that they beat Wigan in the Challenge Cup - and it looks like they’ve targeted our game by resting players last week.
“Daryl’s probably the best English coach I’ve seen since I came over here. To do what he’s done is very, very clever.”
Brown added that there was no excuse for Saints to rest players or take their foot off the gas in Super League at any point because they are out of the Challenge Cup.
“We’re not in the Cup so we want to play well every week - there’s no need for us to be