Zeb happy to play his part in Saints’ success

Zeb Taia gets to grips with the Wigan centre Oliver Gildart
Zeb Taia gets to grips with the Wigan centre Oliver Gildart
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’All for one and one for all’ may be best known as the motto of Three Musketeers in French author Alexandre Dumas’ 19th century novel but it also seems to be the philosophy of Super League table-toppers St Helens who go into tomorrow night’s home game against the Catalans Dragons seeking their 12th win from 14 outings, having plundered 428 points and conceded a miserly 152 in the Betfred Super League.

Veteran back row forward Zeb Taia, who has crossed the whitewash half a dozen times in 2018 and already equalled his entire total from last year, said: “Six or seven of the guys are playing out of their skin at this moment in time but the others are also making vital and valuable contributions.

“On a personal note, I am just doing my job and benefiting from the backing of the ball-players in the team.”

Taia, who is in his second year at the Totally Wicked Stadium, believe the attitude of the players when they arrive for training and in the build-up to matches is one of the key elements to their success so far this season.

“We are on a roll at present and playing with a great deal of confidence and self-assurance. We also have strength in depth to cover all positions and despite being without long-term injury victim Alex Walmsley, the recent three-match absence of skipper James Roby and top scorer Ben Barba missing the Hull FC game, we have coped well.

“Matty Smith has stepped in to plug a gap and we are lucky to have a player of his vast experience available for selection.”

The 33-year-old ex-New Zealand and Cook Islands international will come face-to-face with one of his former clubs tomorrow but refused to be drawn on the prospects of the French - one rung from the foot of the table - being relegated which would be a body blow for the development of the sport on a global scale.

“It doesn’t bear thinking about,” said Taia.

But he will be taking nothing for granted against the Dragons where his past performances led to him making the Super League Dream Team in 2015.

“At one time of the day you could name your top four finishers before the start of a season but not any more.

“We will be treating them with the upmost respect, that’s for certain, but at the same time I hope we can achieve a similar result to our last meeting when we ran out 21-12 winners at the Stade Gilbert Brutus in February.”