Kristian Woolf delighted with second-half response from St Helens

St Helens coach Kristian Woolf was delighted his team managed to find a second-half spark to maintain their unbeaten start to the season with a resounding 34-6 win over Wakefield.

Saturday, 17th April 2021, 8:17 am
Updated Saturday, 17th April 2021, 8:20 am
James Bentley runs in to score for Saints. Picture: SWPix

The champions were strangely out of sorts in the first half, which was point-less, but found a purple patch early in the third quarter and eventually ran in six tries to make it three wins out of three in their Super League title defence.

“We just had to settle down a little bit,” Woolf said. “It was the same the week before, we were a bit frantic and we had a bit of indiscipline and a few calls go against us.

“What we did do was defend really well. Even though Wakefield had a lot of ball, I didn’t think they were going to score.

“There is nothing wrong with the attitude or the way we approach the game, we just had to settle down and make sure we were on the same page. We did that in the second half and I thought we played well.”

Winger Regan Grace and centre Kevin Naqaima both scored two tries in the second-half landslide but the architect was Grand Final hero Jack Welsby, whose silky skills belie his inexperience as he once more proved an able deputy for injured England centre Mark Percival.

“Jack is starting to become a real consistent player,” Woolf said. “He does all the little things really well and now he’s starting to show his class on a regular basis.

“I love what Jack’s doing. as I say every week, he’s going to be a terrific player.

He’s terrific which ever position we put him in, he can do a job anywhere.”

It was another frustrating match for Wakefield coach Chris Chester, whose side are still looking for their first win of 2021.

“The effort hasn’t been questioned for the last three weeks, what we have just questioned in the dressing room is what is going on between the ears,” Chester said.

“We put in a big performance in that first half and just came up with poor lapses in concentration.

“It’s so frustrating. I know these guys are hurting as much as we are but we have to be smarter. With the personnel we’ve got, we can’t given seven yardage penalties in the second half.

“There were too many pressure releases in that game. We’re really working hard but once again it was all our own doing.

“It shows the importance of a good kicking game. Our end of sets weren’t very good. That’s something we tried working on during the week but we need to be better at.”

Already without seven players through injury, Wakefield suffered another blow with the loss of captain and stand-off Jacob Miller went off after 18 minutes with a knee injury.

“It doesn’t look great to be honest,” Chester said. “We’re hopeful it’s just his medial ligament and, if it is, we’re looking at four to six weeks.

“We should have Max Jowitt back next week to cover that but these are challenging times at the minute.”