Super Saints setting the pace

St Helens' James Roby (left) celebrates his try with Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook
St Helens' James Roby (left) celebrates his try with Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook

Saints are setting the pace in the Betfred Super League, boasting a 100 per cent record after three matches.

All-round team work has been the keys to their early success, reflected in the fact that already eight different players have crossed the whitewash in victories

over Castleford Tigers (46-6), Catalans Dragons (21-12) and latterly Huddersfield Giants (26-12) with second rower Zeb Taia scoring three times - half his entire total from the 2017 campaign!

But it is their defensive resilience which has shone brightly during two tricky away fixtures - one in the south of France and Friday’s trip across the Pennines to face Rick Stone’s outfit.

They certainly had to man the trenches at the John Smith’s Stadium, particularly in the opening stages, when they came under severe pressure but it is to their eternal credit that not only did they repel almost everything which was thrown at them, they also had the temerity to close the first 40 minutes leading 14-8.

Skipper James Roby’s 98th try in 402 appearances just before the break could not have been better times and just the fillip needed ahead of the

half-time pep talk.

Saints then re-emerged brimming with self-confidence and two quick fire tries from Taia and Mark Percival - his fourth of the season - [put the icing on the cake and signalled virtually the end of the Giants’ comeback bid.

No wonder boss Justin Holbrook described himself proud of his boys’ performance on a ground where they had only won twice in their previous eight visits.

He said: “It’s a tough place to come and Huddersfield made the task hard for us.

“Earlier on, they had the ball on our line almost continuously but we kept them at bay and I was delighted to go in at half-time six points ahead.”

Both Taia and fellow forward Luke Thompson - making his 100th career appearance - also earned the plaudits of the head coach for their overall contribution and that was hardly surprising. Thommo made the most metres on the night (160) and his team-mate was not far behind with 157, while half back Danny Richardson took his conversion tally to 16 from 18 attempts to add to his one drop goal - the best in the competition to date.