Yates’ view: Saints team effort topples Hull FC

Saints coach Justin Holbrook
Saints coach Justin Holbrook
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“No individual can win a game by himself” is a quote attributed to Brazil soccer icon Pele - words which encapsulate Saints’ philosophy as they keep a firm grip on top spot in the Betfred Super League.

Without question teamwork has been a key element in their early season success - nine wins from 10 outings and 14 different players having registered tries to date - tells its own story and also epitomises the kind of blood currently coursing through the veins of every single player.

Whether it’s the first minute or the last minute of a game, Justin Holbrook’s boys are playing with the same level of intensity and desire and that was clearly evident by the way they dismantled Hull FC at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday night

Saints didn’t entirely have matters all their own way against a talented Humberside outfit but eventually overcame the challenge in a clinical and masterly manner, as well as having to come to terms with the fact that both Hull tries came from what appeared to be forward passes - one so blatant it defied logic that none of the officials spotted it.

They also dealt more than competently with the absence of 10-try Aussie full back Ben Barba who withdrew at the 11th-hour suffering from a virus and again demonstrated the strength in depth of the squad.

Holbrook, quite rightly, refused to single out any one player for special mention at the post-match press but must have been purring with delight at the all-round consistency of 33-year-old Zeb Tai.

The second row forward seems to be enjoying an India summer at present and his second two-try haul took his tally to six in 2018 - equalling his entire total from last season. Not a bad record so far for a player whose basic role is to prevent tries rather than scoring them

The only downside was a rib cartilage injury to skipper James Roby but with a nine day turn around before the trip to Wakefield Trinity on Sunday, Saints are keeping their fingers crossed it is nothing too serious.

But hooker Roby’s second-half substitution opened the door for Matty Smith to be given his second run from the bench in a few days and he showed no signs of rustiness.

“Matty only found out he had been added to the squad at lunch-time on the day of the match and was excited to get an opportunity to play,” said the Saints’ boss.

He added: “I thought he played really well and will have benefited from both games. We could have started with Barba but decided against it and in his absence it is a credit to the boys that they acquitted themselves so well.”

MATCH FACTS:

Saints tries: Taia (eight and 68mins), Percival (43 mins), Thompson (73 mins)

Goals: Richardson (8/43/50/58/73 mins).

Hull tries: Kelly (58 mins), Green (73 mins)

Goals: Sneyd (59 and 74 mins)

Half-time: 6-0.

Full-time: 26-12.

Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).

Attendance:10,408.

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, 17. Dom Peyroux, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin.

Subs: 7. Matty Smith, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles.

Hull FC: 1. Jamie Shaul; 24. Jack Logan, 4. Josh Griffin, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 5. Fetuli Talanoa; 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd; 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 23. Mickey Paea, 17. Danny Washbrook, 26. Jordan Lane, 20. Brad Fash.

Subs: 13. Josh Bowden, 14. Jake Connor, 15. Chris Green, 16. Jordan Abdull