Yates' verdict: Saints' defensive toughness has improved beyond recognition

It was a tough day at the office - but business as usual for high-flying Saints as they wrapped-up two points at the John Smith's Stadium last night (Thursday) to maintain their 100 per cent start to the Betfred Super League season.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 10:05 am
Updated Friday, 23rd April 2021, 10:06 am
A general view of Huddersfield playing St Helens behind closed doors. Picture: SWPix

Spirited hosts Huddersfield Giants certainly gave the defending champions a run for their money without being able to deliver the coup-de-grace, going down 18-10 after a topsy-turvy 80 minutes.

Saints were in cruise control throughout the first half and a mere 12-0 interval lead was scant reward for their utter dominance in all aspects of the game.

The Giants could be excused for not knowing where the ball was for long spells in this period - hardly ever touching it and forced to defend as if their lives depended on the outcome.

However, it was a different story after the interval with the Tykes enjoying as much possession - if not more than their rivals - who had to show stubborn resistance to keep them at arm's length

In previous seasons, Saints may have crumbled under the pressure but since the arrival of Aussie head coach Kristian Woolf at the beginning of 2020 the defensive side of their game has improved beyond recognition and this season alone they have only conceded a miserly 22 points in four league fixtures.

A great start by any standard but demanding coach Woolf still thinks there is room for more improvement.

He must be a hard taskmaster!