Yates’ verdict: Saints just too good for Catalan

Saint Helens Mark Percival is tackled during the Betfred Super League match at the Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens
Saint Helens Mark Percival is tackled during the Betfred Super League match at the Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens
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When Saints came within a cat’s whisker of crossing the whitewash twice in the opening 90 seconds of last night’s clash with the Catalans Dragons at the Totally Wicked Stadium, home fans were rubbing their hands in anticipation of a landslide of tries.

But Justin Holbrook’s outfit, who had plundered 428 points from their previous 13 Super League outings, had to wait until late in the game to banish any fears of a shock result, eventually running out comfortable 26-12 winners.

Saint Helens Jonny Lomax makes a break during the Betfred Super League match at the Totally Wicked Stadium

Saint Helens Jonny Lomax makes a break during the Betfred Super League match at the Totally Wicked Stadium

Maybe on occasions they were guilty of a lack of concentration against rivals hovering one rung off bottom spot but at the same time it is not always possible to produce your best form as easily as switching on a tap and no one needs to tell Saints they were far from their scintillating best, even though the majority of their tries were created and executed in a clinical and crowd-pleasing manner.

Head coach Holbrook said: “I’m obviously really happy to win the game but while both sides were probably below their best tonight, the main thing as far as we are concerned is that we came away with both points.”

He added:’’It is not always easy to back up two big wins with a similar result and performance and I also feel the Dragons are a much better team than their current league position suggests.

“Admittedly, a lot of our individuals were below par but I can’t really fault them and it is a good sign if you still deliver a positive scoreline without playing to the best of your ability.”

The Saints’ coach also revealed that he had decided to rule out leading scorer Ben Barba because he was still feeling a little sore after suffering a neck injury at Salford seven days earlier but insisted he will be 100 per cent fit to face Castleford in the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup at the Jungle on Saturday week.

MATCH FACTS

Saints tries: Lomax (11mins), Makinson (14 mins), Knowles (32 mins), Grace (44 and 69 mins).

Goals: Richardson (3 /5).

Dragons tries: Williams (31 mins), Broughton (45 mins), Tierney (77 mins)

Goals: Drinkwater (0/3).

Half-time: 16-4.

Full-time: 26-12.

Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham)..

Attendance: 9,138.

Teams - Saints: 1. Jonny Lomax; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 19. Regan Grace; 6. Theo Fages, 18. Danny Richardson; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 16. Luke Thompson, 11. Zeb Taia, 17. Dom Peyroux, 12. Jon Wilkin. Subs: 7. Matty Smith, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles.

Dragons: 31. Tony Gigot; 2. Jodie Broughton, 16. Vincent Duport, 4. Brayden Wiliame, 20. Lewis Tierney; 6. Samisoni Langi, 33. Josh Drinkwater; 8. Remi Casty, 19. Michael McIlorum, 14. Julian Bousquet, 11. Louis Anderson, 21. Benjamin Jullien, 13. Greg Bird. Subs: 10. Sam Moa, 17. Jason Baitieri, 23. Antoni Maria, 24. Alrix Da Costa.