SAINTS were determined to repay the town and the fans with a stellar performance against Leeds, caretaker boss Mike Rush has revealed.
Rush also told how the club’s brutally honest players took a “long hard look at themselves” following the sacking of Royce Simmons – which galvanised them into a stunning return to form.
But he admitted he didn’t even have time to pinch himself as eight-try Saints put Rhinos to the sword.
“Like in any sport, when a coach makes way the players take a long hard look at themselves and maybe work that little bit harder,” Rush said.
“The week we had with the players before the game was key because it gave everyone the opportunity to remind themselves what they needed to contribute to the team.
“The senior players knew what they had to do. The team, as a collective, knew they had to repay the town and the fans.
“One of the funny things about sport is that adversity and a loss of form can galvanise people to work a bit harder.
“Not in anybody’s wildest dreams did we expect to be 24-0 up at half-time though.
“If you could bottle that form up, you could sell it for a fortune.”
Meanwhile, Rush echoed the plaudits for half-backs Lance Hohaia and Jonny Lomax – but said a powerhouse performance by the Saints pack had laid the platform for the duo to control the game.
“Lance is a world-class international player.
“He missed a bit of pre-season with an injury, and then had to fill in a number of positions at the start of the season to help the team.
“He was dying for the opportunity to play in the halves though.
“His combination and communication with James Roby and Jonny Lomax bodes well for us.
“But they only got the chance to do their stuff because our pack of forwards were so outstanding.
“We decided to go with four forwards on the bench, and every single one of them played their part.
“Hopefully that confidence that the players showed will stay with us.
“But we don’t want to get over-confident – you’ve still got to earn the respect and field position to play.”
Rush, who revealed that Kiwi international Sia Soliola is back in contention for Friday’s game against Warrington following an assault outside a town centre bar, also told how he felt youngsters Lee Gaskell and Jamie Foster had both needed pulling out of the limelight.
He added: “Lee has had a lot of pressure on him as a stand-off and is still learning his trade in terms of the organisational side to his role. He was fantastic for the Under-20s though.
“Jamie was one of the players who was a bit low in confidence following the previous results.
“Both Lee and Jamie will be back in contention for the first-team in the next few weeks.”