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Yates’ verdict: Saints on their guard against complacency

Saints captain Jon Wilkin
Saints captain Jon Wilkin
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Nap happy Saints are riding on the crest of a wave at this moment in time but will be guarding against any complacency creeping into their game.

It will be a case of focusing on each fixture as it comes along and hoping the results continue to go their way.

They have made similar starts in the past few years - six straight wins in 2015 and eight straight victories in 2014 when, significantly, they went on to defeat neighbours Wigan Warriors 14-6 in the Old Trafford Grand Final.

Bogey boys Hull KR ended the 2015 Super League run following in the footsteps of the Cherry and Whites 12 months earlier but if St Helens can overcome defending champions Leeds Rhinos (h) and the Robins (a) in the next two weeks they will be putting a 100 per cent record on the line against - you’ve guessed it - the Pie Eaters and setting the stage for a fire cracker of a derby encounter at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Good Friday which is expected to be a sell-out.

Justin Holbrook’s outfit claimed their fifth win on the trot at Warrington on Friday night and while the final 30-12 score line was a little flattering, the result demonstrated the confidence oozing from a group of players who put their hosts to the sword in a clinical and ruthless manner.

Mark Percival grabbed a superlative hat-trick to take his try tally for the year to seven - and also gave England head coach Wayne Bennett a further reminder that the Aussie erred when using the 23-year-old centre so sparingly in the World Cup Down Under.

Hopefully, Bennett will have also noted the emerging talent of 21-year-old Danny Richardson, who is currently keeping Matty Smith in the shadows, and who he

elevated to the England Knights’ set-up last week..

Not only did the half back become the first player in Super League this year to top the 50 points mark at Warrington, but the vision he showed in setting up Percival’s third try was sheer poetry in motion.

He cut the Wire defence to ribbons with a block-busting run from inside his own half before chipping the ball into the left-hand corner where the supporting centre pounced to score in front of the ecstatic Saints’ fans.

James Roby also probed non-stop for the full 80 minutes. as well as claiming his 99th career touchdown, and seems to be relishing his role as skipper and certainly not over-awed by the task.

Full back Ben Barba was a little quieter than usual on the night but still produced one audacious pass to set up Richardson’s well deserved late try. as well as organising the defensive side of Saints’ game which can often go unnoticed.

It leaves head coach Holbrook trying to keep a lid on the club’s hope of landing silverware this season, especially among the fans.

He said: “We are a level-headed group and so far coped with the high expectations of our supporters who were talking of success before the season started - never mind now.

“But there are lot of good teams in Super League and all we can do at this stage to enjoy each match and hope our run continues.”

Wolves - tries: King, Livett. Goals: Ratchford (2/2).

Saints tries: Percival (3), Roby, Richardson. Goals: Richardson (5/6).

Half-time: 6-8.

Full-time: 12-30.

Referee: J Child

Attendance 12,268

Teams - Wolves: 1. Stefan Ratchford; 2. Tom Lineham, 18. Toby King, 4. Ryan Atkins, 21. Mitch Brown; 6. Kevin Brown, 7. Tyrone Roberts; 8. Chris Hill, 9. Daryl Clark, 10. Mike Cooper, 13. Ben Murdoch-Masila, 12. Jack Hughes, 34. Ben Westwood. Subs: 14. Dominic Crosby, 17. Joe Philbin, 19. George King, 20. Harvey Livett.

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, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.

Subs: 6. Theo Fages, 8. Alex Walmsley, 14. Luke Douglas, 20. Matty Lees.