Saints show flamboyance in attack and steel in defence

Two try Mark Percival

Kyle Amor scored two tries in an all action man of the match display

Luke Walsh celebrates his try

The flamboyance and finesse with the ball encapsulated so perfectly by Mark Percival's 52nd minute try

First published in Latest News
Last updated
St Helens Star: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Sports Writer

Salford 0 Saints 38

It is hard to work out what was more pleasing in this latest emphatic Saints triumph; the flamboyance and finesse with the ball encapsulated so perfectly by Mark Percival's 52nd minute try or the stubborn defensive resolve that kept the expensively assembled Devils pointless.

Saints were a a class apart - and even though Salford had a real dig at times they were never likely to knock Nathan Brown's boys off their game.

There were again some towering performances with Alex Walmsley adding to his growing reputation by fronting up to Adrian Morley and Gareth Hock.

Jon Wilkin again showed what value it is having him restored to the back row, but he again produced some deft touches with the boot, including a 40/20, and he rolled back the years to claim the sort of up the middle support try that once was his trademark.

To be fair, all17 players could be listed, such was the mighty collective effort, but special mentions have to be given to unsung hero a Josh Jones, who was rock solid in the middle, and new cult hero Kyle Amor who brought a mixture of grunt and offload and was rewarded with a try.

So again there was a lot for the travelling to rejoice about, not least the fact that team is now sitting pretty on top of the league.

The game was delayed by 15 minutes due to the horrendous traffic congestion leading to the ground.

But Saints wasted no time after kick off, with Luke Walsh making a great 70 metre break that was foiled after Willie Manu was tackled.

Walsh was soon back in the thick of it with his pass to Kyle Amor sending the prop booming to the line. Jon Wilkin ran a great line in support to cross under the sticks, turning in the tackle to keep the momentum going.

Walsh goaled and five minutes later sparked and finished the next try scoring move.

His long pass wide to Jordan Turner allowed Tommy Makinson to go on the run down the right.

The speedy wing had the wherewithal to chip the ball back inside for Walsh to swoop on to and score.

Salford responded with some devilishly fierce tackling, but Saints stuck to their guns and responded in kind.

Saints looked as though they had opened up a three score lead just before the break, but the video ref Steve Ganson ruled that Makinson had lost control going over in the corner.

Salford again had plenty of ball at the start of the second half as they tried to get the crucial first score.

But Saints again weathered that, effectively disheartening the high profile Salford players in front of their own fans.

Salford gave it one last tilt - and once again Saints smothered them with the Devils scrum half Tim Smith tried a desperate dab through.

The alert Sia Soliola scooped it up, and with a nod back to his days as the Kiwis centre, he pinned his ears back and motored upfield.

He smartly weighed up the options before spreading it left to Percival who played a one-two with Adam Swift before sauntering over for the early candidate for try of the season.

Oh what joy it is to see the swashbuckling Saints reclaim their entertainers moniker.

A Walmsley charge, and back door offload, teed up Amor to bash his way over.

Walsh converted all the tries and back-heeled a penalty to make it a five score lead for the visitors. And they added to it with a well worked, oft repeated, move which saw James Roby's reverse slip ball inside saw Anthony Laffranchi run the brave line for a try.

Salford had one last go at bombarding the Saints line, such was their desire to break their duck.

But Saints' desire to keep the line intact was greater and it was almost as if they were defending a one-score lead.

No wonder then that the fans cheered the end of that set enthusiastically.

With the ball Saints were not done and Lance Hohaia, restored to six in the absence of dead leg victim Gary Wheeler, pierced the Devils line and released Percival, whose craft, footwork and dummy did the rest.

Walsh maintained his perfect record, but this one needed the assistance of the uprights,

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