SAINTS boss Kristian Woolf was pleased with his senior side’s first and only hit-out of the pre-season with a 36-6 friendly win over relegated London Broncos.

He used the game to get minutes into his players, trial things they have been working on since he took over the reins and to get a good look at the younger members of the squad in what was a good competitive encounter in aid of Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook’s testimonial.

St Helens Star:

Saints scored seven tries in total, two from Regan Grace – including a 90-metre special – a brace from the classy Mark Percival, and one each from makeshift wing Jack Welsby, stand-off Jonny Lomax and Joe Batchelor.

Woolf said: “The first thing you want to do with trials is get through without any injuries and we did that.

“That was our first chance for full-contact and you want to get a bit of match fitness and obviously try a couple of different things, which we did.

St Helens Star:

“And we also got the opportunity to give some young blokes a good 20-25 minutes and they did a good job.

“So from those points of view we certainly got everything we needed.”

The Londoners, who beat Saints twice last year, were invited to play given they were McCarthy-Scarsbrook’s first club – and they made it a competitive encounter.

“Trials are a funny thing,” Woolf said.

“They are difficult to get yourself really going for them, but from a London point of view they get to play the reigning champions.

"They had a little bit more to find some energy for and that made the game a bit more of a contest and they did a good job of that.

“They played with really good line speed in defence, particularly when they had us coming off our try line. From that point of view they certainly made it a contest.”

St Helens Star:

In terms of the forwards, Woolf singled out the destructive hard running of Alex Walmsley as the pick of the pack.

“I thought big Al was our best in terms of go forward and he did some really good things with the ball.

“For the most part, apart from their try which was a bit of a soft one from a tap, I don’t think our blokes looked troubled in defence and we did a pretty good job there.”

St Helens Star:

The game was Matty Lees first back since that horrendous perforated bowel injury sustained last August, and Woolf was pleased with the prop’s contribution – and reckons it will stand him in good stead for the weeks and months ahead.

“Matty Lees got better as the game went on. He did not start tentatively and looked like he was ready to go, he just seemed to warm to the contest as it went on and his second stint was a touch better than his first.

“It has been a long lay-off, for an odd injury, and one that would have some challenges mentally overcoming them and having to play again but I thought he did a good job.

“He will take some confidence from that and be better for it in the next couple of weeks too,” Woolf said.

St Helens Star:

In the absence of skipper James Roby, who will miss the season opener, Saints operated with James Bentley, spelled by Aaron Smith, in the hooking role.

But that is not necessarily an indication on how they will line up in week one.

Woolf said: “We gave them 50 per cent of the game each. It is not necessarily what we are going to do in round one and we want to have a bit of a look at both of those.

“What it is, is a reward for James Bentley.

“He has been up there with our hardest workers and done a really good job.He came from his duties with Ireland early on his own accord and done some really good things and we just wanted to reward that by giving him a start today.

“We are going to have a look at the tape and make a few decisions for round one.”

St Helens Star:

The game kickstarted popular packman McCarthy-Scarsbrook’s testimonial season – and the Londoner earned plaudits from the Saints boss after the game.

“You end up at a club like St Helens because you are a good player, obviously.

“You only stay for 274 games in 10 years if you are not only a really good player, but also a really good person to have around the place and that is what Louie is.

Read: Win tickets for Saints v Sydney Roosters>

“In my short time here I have said a number of times that he has got a terrific ability to still enjoy his footy, but that does not interfere with his ability to work hard and lead the youngsters as well.

“He is extremely valuable for the club and a good person to have here and that is why he has been here so long,” he said.

In injury news Woolf explained that absent Kyle Amor was missing with a shoulder injury – that was not worth risking for a pre-season match.

“He has a fairly minor AC injury, but with it being a trial we are not going to put blokes at risk that could end up longer term injury.

“If it had been an in-season game there would have been some chance of playing but not for a trial,” he said.