Saints on a high ahead of Leeds clash

St Helens visit Leeds on Thursday in high spirits following last week’s dramatic victory over Salford.

Matty Smith’s late drop goal secured a 25-24 win and head coach Justin Holbrook has been encouraging his players to enjoy the moment.

“It was a fantastic finish to a game and at full-time the atmosphere was electric – and so it should be with a finish like that,” said Holbrook

“To win like that off the final play of the game doesn’t happen often. I don’t want to play it down – it was fantastic and a great finish.

“I told the players to enjoy it as in years to come people will remember it. It was ‘never write off the Saints’ and that is something that is spoken about all the time here.

“Of course, we don’t want to rely on a finish like that too often. While I thought we played okay in the first half, and could have been up 14-2 at the break, Salford dominated the second until the last seven or so minutes, so we cannot afford to put ourselves in that position too many times.

“It’s great to know no matter what is happening out there we can still be good enough to win.

St Helens battled to a 6-4 home win against Leeds in the opening game of the Super League season and Holbrook expects another tough encounter on Thursday.

“Leeds are having a good season – they sit third in the table and are in the Challenge Cup semi-final,” he added.

“We will have to play well to beat them. Of course we know their threats, their second phase play is strong and we will have to defend well.

“But it’s about our own game too. We have to keep improving with the ball. We are showing signs of it but we have to do it for longer periods.

“We know we have a lot of work to do.”

Luke Thompson started last week’s game on the bench, but is hoping to start against Leeds and he believes the fixture could be another thriller.

“Headingley is always a great game when we go over there,” he said. “I think I’m starting this week, so I’m looking to carry on with being consistent like I feel I’ve been so far.

“I’m looking to kick on towards the back end of the season and trying to improve each week.

“We’ve got a bit of a hill to climb, but I don’t see why we can’t close the gap on the top four – we just need to keep winning.”

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