Yates' verdict: Job done at Hull but tougher challenges will lie ahead

Dom Peyroux takes on the Hull defence. Picture: SWPix
Dom Peyroux takes on the Hull defence. Picture: SWPix

Saints would be well advised to erase all thoughts of Friday night's 40-12 demolition of Hull FC at the KCOM Stadium from their memory bank.


It will mean little or nothing in the event of the two clubs crossing swords in the Coral Challenge Cup at Wembley and while no one other than the most die-hard Halifax fan is expecting the Championship side to overcome head coach Justin Holbrook's cup favourites in the semi-final showdown later this month, don't entirely write-off the Airlie Birds' chances of toppling Warrington Wolves

They may have produced a lamentable Betfred Super League display against treble-chasing Saints in keeping with their Jekyll and Hyde tag, but nobody knows what kind of performance the Airlie Birds have hidden up their sleeves in the future.

Saints certainly made the Humbersiders look second rate on Friday. It was almost like taking candy from a kid and as a serious contest was virtually done and dusted after only 22 minutes as the visitors plundered three unanswered tries.

It could also be argued with some justification that the table-toppers - beaten only twice in 21 league outings this year - are playing at a level no other club is capable of matching on current
form but I believe they are in need of a tough examination to show they are not as invincible as some of their fans are beginning to think and also help keep the players' feet firmly on the ground in the crucial weeks ahead.

That may come as early as this Friday when arch-rival Wigan Warriors make the short trip to the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Wigan didn't make a great start to their title defence but five victories in succession have rocketed Adrian Lam's boys to fourth spot and they cannot be ruled out of the race for Old Trafford.

Holbrook will no doubt continue to ring the changes ahead of the cup semi-final but I can't see him naming an under-strength squad for the derby - the fans wouldn't stand for it!

Skipper James Roby, who has been absent several weeks following groin surgery, has not been ruled out of returning and his understudy, Aaron Smith. will come into the reckoning after injury kept him sidelined at Hull.

Two points would take Saints a step closer to retaining the League Leaders' Shield which they have all ready won seven times (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014 and 2018).

Only second-placed Warrington and Hull FC in third spot have a mathematical chance of overtaking the Red-Vee boys but that's as likely as Jeremy Hunt collecting the keys to 10 Downing Street instead of Boris Johnson..