Influential Smith the key to Saints’ success

Kieron Cunningham singled out Matty Smith for special praise after St Helens romped to a 31-6 victory at home to Warrington on Friday.

Saints led 18-0 at the break and followed up with a controlled second-half performance to leave Wolves without a point this season.

“I’m very happy – happy we’ve backed up two great performances,” Cunningham told BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.

“I’m happy how we approached – we didn’t try to force issue, we built pressure after 25 minutes of a tough arm-wrestle and the weight of pressure told and we posted points.

“There were some really smart plays from key people at the right times that got us across the line. We lost a couple of games this season and won them if Matty (Smith) had been in our side.

“He’s so influential, he’s a leader and game management is second to none, that’s why we brought him to the club.

“I knew Warrington would come firing, Tony (Smith) would have had big words and they came out and played. Every time it sped up around the ruck they looked dangerous.

“The best thing was the response to that as we got back in our rhythm, were patient. It was a pleasure for the players, and we’ve done it tough.

“Lots of bad things get said about you at this club and you’re expected to win.”

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