WITH the rain bucketing down and the game going badly, new signing Zeb Taia must have been contemplating Australia’s Gold Coast, which he had left behind earlier in the week.
But the former Gold Coast Titans and Catalans Dragons forward, who Saints have signed on a three-year deal, lost no time in making an impact.
A crunching hit on Wakefield full-back Scott Grix set an early tone and his first carries on the left lifted the mood.
Coach Keiron Cunningham expects big things of Taia, who will probably slot in on the left edge back row on Friday night at Hull.
Cunningham said: “I felt for Zeb.
“He was slipping everywhere on Thursday, but he did a good job.
“He looks sharp. He is going to be a big asset for the club going forward.”
Cunningham eventually plans on slotting Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook on the right edge, but he is still struggling with match fitness having missed the pre-season following a hip operation.
It meant he was used in the middle for a stint on Friday against Wakefield.
“I envisage Louie playing in the right back row, but I need to get some miles into his legs as he has not had a pre-season, same as Kyle Amor.
“They have come through green. Neither Louie on Kyle were flash at the weekend, but they looked like they haven’t had a pre-season.
“We have got to get game time into them.
“Every game they play they will improve.”
Saints will carry on for the time being with Tommy Makinson at full-back with Jonny Lomax sidelined with a knee injury.
Cunningham stated that this was not a significant injury and is not related to Lomax’s previous injuries.
“It is not major,” he said. “It is nothing to do with his other injuries, but until the issue is resolved it is a little bit uncomfortable for him so we are going to have to make sure we get it right for him.”
Tommy Lee, who missed the Wakefield game, is recalled and is likely to play in the halves unless skipper Jon Wilkin moves back there with Danny Richardson dropping out.
Cunningham added: “Tommy was good against Leeds and had a lot of fire in defence. But he was overawed by the occasion at Leigh. We needed a spot for Zeb on the bench.
“It was probably easy to sacrifice Tommy because of the way he started against Leigh.
“However, Tommy will be back in this week.”