Saints the team to beat again

Paul Sculthorpe Saints

As many predicted, it’s fast emerging that Saints are once again the team to beat in the Betfred Super League after another dominant win away at Hull FC.

Conditions were atrocious – with coach Kristian Woolf even admitted his players were ‘shivering’ during the half-time interval – but that didn’t stop us running over six tries to triumph 38-6.

Jack Welsby returned to the scene of his most memorable moment yet, scoring a similar kind of try in virtually the same spot. Add to that his involvement in both of Josh Simm’s tries, and the 20-year-old was well worth his Betfred Super League MOTM award – although he must have been closely followed by a barnstorming Alex Walmsley who ran 200m+, causing many problems for the Hull defence.

Another milestone to come from the game was Mark Percival scoring his 100th career try – and what a try it was.

After great build up play from new fan favourite Konrad Hurrell, the ball was shifted left to the hard line-running Percival who was virtually impossible to tackle. It’s no secret I’m a massive fan of Percy, the best centre in the league in my opinion.

Hull FC, who in fairness were missing quite a number of first choice players including Jake Connor, Manu Ma’u & Kane Evans to name but a few, were dreadful. They were playing against the best team in the competition, facing the most aggressive defensive line speed, but they looked completely lost of ideas. Their defence were abysmal, not to mention their discipline.

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Connor Wynne was sin-binned for a tip tackle on Jack Welsby, and skipper Luke Gale saw red for a lunge at Jonny Lomax. I’ve absolutely no doubt there was no malice in Galey’s misdemeanor, but it was unbelievably careless and could have easily caused Jonny major issues had he been caught full on.

The Match Review panel have obviously set their stall out this season to stamp out all foul play, handing out some severe punishments already. I just hope there is also some common sense behind the sentences, after all we want our stars on the field not in the stands. However, players now know what is required and have to play by the rules set.

So, after the first couple of weeks we have five teams – Saints, Wigan, Warrington, Huddersfield and, surprisingly to some, Salford – boasting a 100% winning record.

Saints remain 13/8 favourites with Super League title sponsors Betfred to win their fourth successive title, followed by the Warrington Wolves at 9/2.

The big movers are third-placed Salford Red Devils, who have come in from 100/1 at the start of the season to 40/1 today.

Next up for the Saints is Wakefield Trinity at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday evening.

Yet to win a game, I can’t see things changing for Willie Poaching’s team this week. I’m going for a dominant Saints victory by more than 28 points (13/8 at Betfred).

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