Yates' verdict: Saints' defensive attitude laying down a marker

Saints' Regan Grace (centre) celebrates his try against Salford Red Devils
Saints' Regan Grace (centre) celebrates his try against Salford Red Devils
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Saints have always been renowned for their off-the-cuff rugby, thrilling crowds wherever they have played, but often in the dim and distant past letting themselves down by defensive frailties.

However, on the evidence of their blistering start to the 2019 Betfred Super League season, this has been well and truly swept under the carpet.

Restricting Salford Red Devils to a miserly four points in Thursday night's victory at the rain-lashed A.J.Bell Stadium after leaving Leeds scoreless in the second half of their previous home match meant that Justin Holbrook's outfit had only conceded one try in 120 minutes' action.

Defensive stability is always a key ingredient to any club's hopes and aspirations of lifting silverware and Saints have already laid down a marker that cannot be ignored.

No one epitomises the desire of the club more than 33-year-old hooker James Roby, who is an early season favourite for the Man of Steel award, which he won for the only time in 2007.

But the down-to-earth skipper will not be thinking that far ahead and all he will be focusing on along with his team-mates is next Friday's home match with London Broncos.

Roby, who not only completed 50 tackles against the previously high-scoring Red Devils but helped himself to a couple of tries (his second ending any remote chance of the hosts turning the tide) said: ''It was a tough game and Salford put us under pressure at times.

''It was a question of getting the basics right, running hard and carrying and trying to keep it as simple as possible.''

Mr Modesty added: ''We have a great team this year but from a personal point of view I'm just doing my job.''

Tries - Salford: Olpherts (53 mins).

Saints: Percival (19 mins), Lomax (32 mins), Roby (39 and 75 mins), Grace (57 mins).

Goals Coote (29, 40 and 76 mins).

Teams - Salford: Evalds, Olpherts, Welham, Sa'u, Sio, Lui, Hastings, Mossop, Lussick, Dudson, Jones, Turgut, Griffin. Replacements: Burke, Nakubuwai, McCarthy, Tomkins

St Helens: Coote, Makinson, Grace, Costello, Percival, Lomax, Fages, Thompson, Roby, Walmsley, Peyroux, Taia, Knowles. Replacements: Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Lees.

Referee: Ben Thaler.

Attendance: 4,064.