SAINTS coach Kristian Woolf had plenty to discuss when he gave his thoughts to the Star’s Mike Critchley this week.

MC: There was no holding back from Matty Lees on his Super League return.

KW: Well he is a tough fella, and tough blokes tend to not think too much about their own bodies - they play tough no matter what.

That is what Leesy is. I was very happy for him. Sometimes we forget about what a big injury it was and how long he has been out of the game.

He is a player who over the next 12-18 months we see as developing into a genuine starting front rower.

As a club we are going to give him that opportunity and a chance to develop.

As a player I think he will take every opportunity we give him as well.

St Helens Star:

MC: There was definitely a tweak to what Saints do in the tackle - is it a fine line between slowing it down and getting pinged?

KW: It is always a fine line because you want to take as much time as you can without conceding a penalty because that defeating the purpose by giving away field position.

We have worked hard in a number of different areas both attack and defence wise.

At times I thought our dominance defensively was not rewarded with as much time as it should be when you compared what we do in the tackle to what Salford did.

St Helens Star:

MC: Have you given your halves a bit more freedom and responsibility at the end of the sets?

KW: I thought both of our halves were outstanding - one area they were really good in was their fifth play selection.

If you look at a couple of our tries we scored was by running on fifth play.

Theo and Jonny were both terrific in terms of getting repeat sets, too.

Running on fifth play was not something we had gone into the game with a plan to do, it was something they noticed on the run and were able to put into place.

That is sign of them as players, and their class, more than anything else.

St Helens Star:

MC: Do you want them to play what they see, rather than stick to a regimented programme?

KW: 100 per cent. We give them a structure - but at the same time a structure to fall back on because it creates opportunities.

We want the players to play with their eyes up and play what they see because Jonny Lomax is a world class player and we want him to play what he sees .

Theo is developing into that and we want him to do the same.

MC: You must have been pleased with the big number of goal line drop outs, helped by a very good chase?

KW: It is something the club has been noted for - they compete hard on every play.

We showed it a number of times in that area and in the way they turned up to save tries.

As long as we have got that attitude, even when everything else is not working we can keep ourselves in the contest.

St Helens Star:

MC: You will be slowly getting players back as the month progresses - that will give you choices?

KW: We have a lot of blokes competing in that middle part Kyle Amor and Morgan Knowles become available very soon. Tommy Makinson will be back shortly - and Lachlan Coote not a long term injury.

That is the strength of the squad - being able to replace those guys when they are out but making sure there is genuine competition for spots.

One thing I know about footy is that at some stage we will have injuries and will be calling on all the guys in the squad as well.

St Helens Star:

MC: Every cloud has a silver lining - after Lachlan Coote's injury Jack Welsby really stood up.

KW: Jack Welsby is a good kid who is getting better all the time.

He is going to be a very good player - we saw a glimpse of what he could do at the weekend.

He is still young and we are going to have to accept that at different times there are things that he will have to learn.

I am 100 per cent confident that he can come in and fill a spot whenever we need him to.

St Helens Star:

MC: Joseph Paulo was out of favour and missed the Grand Final at the back end of last year, have you been pleased with his response?

KW: I thought he did a really good job when he came on against Salford.

He has worked really hard in the pre-season - and in particular since Christmas. He has come back fit, happy and consistent in what he is doing.

That is what we asked of him - that is why he got a run in round one and why he will get a run again this week.

We have had a real consistency in what he is doing both with and without the ball from the trials through to round one.