We want to keep on improving says St Helens boss ahead of Salford trip

Justin Holbrook
Justin Holbrook

Saints put their unbeaten start to the season on the line at Salford tomorrow night - and it's likely to be a much closer game than the one which unfolded at the AJ Bell Stadium 12 months ago.

On that occasion, a hat-trick by the mercurial Ben Barba helped Justin Holbrook's side to a thumping 60-10 victory and they went on to post a further 12 wins on the trot before losing to the Catalans Dragons in the Challenge Cup semi-final at Bolton..

Like 2018, Saints have made a carbon copy opening to the new campaign and alongside Castleford Tigers and Warrington Wolves are setting the early pace in Super League with six points from three matches.

But the Saints coach, who has lost centre Kevin Naiqama to concussion, is expecting a stern test of his side's 100 per cent record.

"They had a good win last week," said Holbrook. "They are playing really expansive as they have got (Jackson) Hastings and (Rob) Lui who look dangerous when they are moving the ball and (Niall) Evalds at the back as well.

"For us it's about improving our own game. Although we won last week, there are areas we want to improve."

The Red Devils are breathing down the trio's neck with six points on the board from four fixtures, including last weekend's stunning recovery to beat Hull KR 24-22 at Craven Park after finding themselves trailing 22-8 in the first half.

Wins over Huddersfield, London Broncos and the Robins have put the Red Devils in sight of top spot but they were heavily beaten by Leeds 46-14 in their last home game and Watson admits the visit of St Helens will provide a true measure of their play-off credentials.

"You need to beat them teams," Watson said, referring to opponents likely to finish in the bottom half of the table. "It's no good beating a St Helens and losing to all them three.

"But your true kind of test of your strength in depth and your quality comes against these best teams, the Wigans, the Leeds, the St Helens.

"The test for us is to stay in that arm wrestle against the best teams. We let ourselves down to be fair against Leeds. We know we need to be better this week."