Justin Holbrook, the new Saints coach, could not have asked for a better start as Saints Head Coach as his side thrashed Hull FC 45-0 at the Magic Weekend.
The new arrival may have been quick to point out he didn’t have much influence on the victory but there’s no denying his presence lifted the players to their best win of year.
Saints were simply excellent throughout scoring eight tries and defending like their lives depended on it.
Alex Walmsley and Regan Grace both bagged a brace but this was a real 1 to 17 effort that will bring confidence ahead of this week’s clash with Wigan.
Saints scored on 14 minutes after a tight opening spell.
James Roby went close before big runs from Zeb Taia and Kyle Amor set up the space for Alex Walmsley to twist his way over following a short ball.
And from the restart, they scored again. Walmsley did the damage down the middle of the park and on the last Matty Smith, who was outstanding throughout, put a perfect kick over for Ryan Morgan to pluck it out of midair.
Percival tagging on the conversion for 12-0.
Saints were on top and when Roby went close on the quarter game mark, you sensed another try was coming.
And it did, five minutes later, through Morgan Knowles.
A high bomb on the last, with a good kick chase, forced a knock on and the youngster snaffled up the bouncing ball.
Hull hit back with repeat sets on Saints’ line and then again with two more at the back end of the half.
But the men in black were too mean to let them through and Smith dropped a goal with 45 seconds remaining to give his side a 19 point lead at the break.
That was soon a 25-point advantage as Walmsley nabbed his second as he crashed under the posts on 47 minutes.
Initially, a loose Saints pass was collected by Hull but a big tackle from Adam Swift dislodged it and it came back the other way.
Walmsley then did what he does best by charging onto the ball at full tilt.
Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook got on the right edge of Hull and ghosted over on 55 minutes – but the best was yet to come.
Tommy Makinson, who had been solid on his line all afternoon, collected a cross kick near his own posts and then danced through Hull’s left hand side, cut back infield and held off two would be tacklers to go the full length.
It was an absolutely amazing effort.
Saints weren’t finished though as there was enough time for Grace to score twice.
The winger crossed in the corner after a wonderful offload from Mark Percival and then showed all his pace add his second.
Justin Holbrook didn’t want to take credit for Saints’ stunning 45-0 win over Hull FC at the Magic Weekend but did admit he came to the club at the right time.
“The boys were hurting a lot after getting bundled out of the Challenge Cup and all the credit goes to them for putting in a performance like that today,” he said. “I got here on Thursday and worked with them on Friday so I can’t clam too much for the performance. I could tell they wanted to perform and I am pleased for them.
“I have been watching the games across in Australia and I could see they were frustrated. The staff have been doing it tough like the players so my job was to take the pressure off them, make them relax and enjoy it. They performed well.
“They are a good bunch of guys who want success and they were hurting. I just wanted them to let go of it and enjoy it again. They had to work hard for it and showed some great defence at times too.
“I was really pleased for them.”
He continued: “They have been guilty of trying too hard which happens when you lose a few games. Last week was a big knock out game and I thought they really tried too hard and when you do that it gets harder.
“I wanted them to realise that and take the pressure from them. They were ready to perform today.
“That said, it is only two points and we are a fair way off the leading pack. We have to keep performing.”
Tries: Walmsley (2), Morgan, Knowles, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Makinson, Grace (2)
Goals: Percival (6 from 8)
REF: Robert Hicks
2. Tommy Makinson; 5. Adam Swift, 4. Mark Percival, 3. Ryan Morgan, 28. Regan Grace; 6. Theo Fages, 7. Matty Smith; 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 36. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin, 20. Morgan Knowles.
Subs: 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Tommy Lee.
1. Jamie Shaul, 4. Josh Griffin, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 25. Jansin Turgut, 19. Steven Michaels; 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd; 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Liam Watts, 21. Sika Manu, 12. Mark Minichiello, 15. Chris Green.
Subs: 16. Jordan Thompson, 17. Daniel Washbrook, 22. Josh Bowden, 28. Brad Fash.
Saints are next in action when they host Wigan on Thursday May 25. Tickets are now on sale from the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium, by calling 01744 455 052 or online