Four games into the new season and pre season favourites St Helens have swept all before them; following their 34-2 victory over Salford, they boast a 100% record, beating last season’s League Leaders’ Shield winners and, as it stands, the most points scored and least points conceded.
Their superb start has seen former NRL winner Ben Barba hit the form that coach Justin Holbrook would have been hoping for when he recruited the player and, after four games, he has four tries and more assists. He is a key feature in Saints’ attacking play while also adding structure to their defence. Holbrook’s faith in youth is clearly evident from the time he has spent in Lancashire and has seen him include highly rated youngster Danny Richardson in his matchday squad ahead of much more experienced counterpart Matty Smith. Richardson has delivered and Saints now have a strong base to build their season upon.
Their season started superbly and in the best possible way as they stunned the Tigers on opening night. While some people predicted the result, they didn’t predict the scoreline which saw St Helens frankly batter Castleford such was their exhilarating play – something which was their visitor’s MO last season.
Coming up in their next four games, however, are sterner tests than they have faced so far – barring Castleford. Their upcoming run of visits to Warrington and Hull KR alongside hosting last season’s Super League winners Leeds will test their title and silverware winning credentials before their huge derby against Wigan at the Totally Wicked Stadium comes around on Good Friday. If Saints can continue their form and boast as strong a record after eight games that they do after four, that will go a long way to justifying their billing as competition favourites.