I’m back – and so are the mighty Saints, doing what they do best leading from the front.
Three wins from three so far in all competitions and the Betfred Super League champions are firm favourites to lift yet more silverware this season.
Led again by irrepressible skipper James Roby, we are two from two in the Betfred Super League after wins against Salford and Hull KR, scoring 54 points and only conceding 6 points, and last week we knocked holders Leeds Rhinos out of the Betfred Challenge Cup.
There have been some outstanding individual performances so far, but the one that stood out most to me and the Saints faithful was that of new boy Agnatius Paasi last weekend.
His impact off the bench was the highlight in what was in truth a terrible game. I was very impressed with his direct approach causing all sorts of problems for the Rhinos defence, and how equally solid he looked in defence. He has great leg speed for a big man, something we saw when he broke clear, leaving the Leeds defenders trailing.
Another player who has started the season showing the form of last year is Jonny Lomax.
The 30-year-old delighted the Saints fans by signing a new long term deal that keeps him at the club until the end of 2024, following the lead of Alex Walmsley – both stating they want to see out their careers at the club they love.
After signing his new deal Lomax thanked the club and its fans for the loyalty shown to him earlier in his career when he underwent an horrendous run of knee injuries and several reconstructions. However, after numerous questions on his best position, he has made the number six jersey his own, and looks set to claim the same shirt for England in October as we aim to win the RLWC2021 for the first time in over 50 years.
Next up for the Saints is Wakefield Trinity on Friday evening. Wakey will no doubt be keen to bounce back after their early exit from the Challenge Cup at the hands of a Sam Tomkins-inspired Catalan Dragons.
Without back-to-back losses in Betfred Super League too, I can’t see anything other than a convincing Saints win.
Saints themselves, despite winning every game so far this season, will also be looking for improvements from last week’s triumph over the Rhinos – and I’m going for a statement win by 24 points or more, which is EVS at Betfred.
Back to the Challenge Cup, which Saints are 9/4 favourites to win, and it’s Huddersfield Giants in the next round.
Tie of the round looks like Catalans-Warrington – and who knows which way it will go! Both sides are capable of beating anyone on their day, but they’re both also very inconsistent at times.
Finally, it would be very reminiscent of me not to mention the big news in Betfred Super League… the coaching roundabout!
Firstly Warrington announced that Steve Price will be returning to Australia at the end of 2021, to be later announced that it will be Castleford boss Darryl Powell who will take the post.
I don’t get this idea of announcing major news for the following year when they virtually hasn’t been a ball kicked this year. Both coaches are ultimate professionals but I do think this has a negative impact on the playing staff. Let’s see how it pans out!
Anyway, it’s great to see RL back, be it on TV. Now we just want the fans back rocking the TWS!
As lockdown starts to ease and the vaccine roll out continues to progress… please stay safe.