Nathan Brown’s Saints are looking down on 12 of the 14 clubs which embrace the First Utility Super League at the mid-point of the season and, had he been offered this lofty perch back in early February, he would have snatched off your hand.
But the Saints head coach is setting his sights on maintaining, if not bettering, the club’s current second-in-the-table spot and position of strength to go on and claim their first Grand Final crown since 2006.
A place in the play-offs is already all-but nailed down unless there is a catastrophic dip in form but Saints will be looking no further than Friday’s home game against Salford and their next two points to build on last week’s confidence-boosting 41-22 victory over the Huddersfield Giants.
Brown said: “It is essential that we keep working hard because we are not the finished article yet and need to deliver a top physical performance against Salford, just as we did when facing the Giants.
“We are definitely developing as a team but at the end of the day we don’t want to finish third or fourth.
“We are fully aware there are parts of our game which needs improving against the bigger clubs and I felt our display on Friday was our best against good opposition for a while.”
The Aussie was delighted by the effort and commitment his injury-hit squad produced to overcome the challenge of last year’s League Leaders’ Shield winners and in particular the contributions from skipper Paul Wellens and man-mountain Mose Masoe.
Brown said: “Paul is a great competitor and I don’t think anyone can doubt what he brings to the team. When he is on the field we seem to have something going for us.
“His leadership is also first-class and that is why it is vital we have him around - someone who can set a good standard and example to the young blokes around him.”
Of the Samoan powerhouse, he declared: “Mose arrived with a lower limb injury and took some time to get going but against Huddersfield he probably showed why we brought him to the club.”
Brown was also pleased to see two-try Gary Wheeler back in the line-up after a stop-start season and hopes he is finally set to shed his unwanted injury-jinx tag
“The big challenge now facing him is to make sure he comes up with the goods again,” Brown said.