Any thoughts Saints would take their foot off the accelerator when travelling to Hull on Friday night having already guaranteed top spot at the end of the regular Betfred Super League season couldn’t have been further from the players’ minds.
It was another clinical and ruthless display from Justin Holbrook’s side and sets them up nicely for Thursday’s derby against Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium where the hosts have so far remained unbeaten in 2018 and possibly one of the last chances departing coach Shaun Wane will have of overturning deadly rivals he loved to put to the sword.
But Saints, whose last defeat was against Wakefield Trinity at Belle Vue in mid-April, are riding on the crest of a wave at this moment in time and won’t be over-awed or intimated by the immediate task they face and what lies ahead during the rest of the campaign judging by the way they dismantled the Airlie Birds 34-18 in front of their own demanding Humberside fans.
Resilience was another key factor in Saints’ 19th league win of the season - overcoming the body blow of going behind to a first minute touch down and then recovering from an eight-point second-half deficit to steamroller the hosts with a volley of tries.
“We always knew it would be a tough game and we did really well to lead at half time,” said Holbrook.
“We found ourselves in a tough spot during the second half but to the players’ credit they dug deep, turned it around and came away with a good win.”
He added: “We are obviously playing well with where we sit in the table and competing for the full 80 minutes.”
Holbrook singled out Jonny Lomax for special mention and said he was the main difference between the two sides
The stand off scored two tries - one following two outrageous dummies on his way to the line - and also played a part in others
“Jonny has been fantastic during the past five or six weeks,” said Holbrook.
“He produces the goods whether he is playing at stand off or full back and he did that.”
The head coach also kept his faith in Adam Swift after he had scored a hat-trick the previous week against Widnes Vikings - moving the returning Tommy Makinson to the centre berth - and the winger repaid him by storming over for Saints’ sixth try of the night.
And what about prop Luke Thompson’s late try which was the icing on the cake?
He showed the speed of a gazelle to burst on to Lomax’s inch-perfect pass and dashed from inside his own half to score on an night when the quality of tries from both sides was right out of the top drawer.
Hull FC - tries: Faraimo (1 min and 37 mins), Turgut (50), Kelly (52).
Goals: Miloudi (53).
Saints - tries: Makinson (16), Barba (28 and 56), Lomax (59 and 66), Swift (71), Thompson (78)
Goals: Richardson (29,60 and 67).
Referee: Liam Moore
Teams - Hull FC: 28. Hakim Miloudi; 2. Bureta Faraimo, 14. Jake Connor, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 24. Jack Logan; 6. Albert Kelly, 16. Jordan Abdul; 15. Chris Green, 9. Danny Houghton, 8. Scott Taylor, 25. Jansin Turgut, 12. Mark Minichiello, 11. Dean Hadley. Subs: 23. Mickey Paea, 26. Jordan Lane, 27. Jack Downs, 29. Masimbaashe Matongo.
Saints: 23. Ben Barba; 5. Adam Swift, 2. Tommy Makinson, 4. Mark Percival, 19. Regan Grace; 1. Jonny Lomax, 18. Danny Richardson; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Dom Peyroux, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin.
Subs: 6. Theo Fages, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles.