SAINTS have previous with the Sydney Roosters - and next week they will be trying to get their first win after being comprehensively downed in three earlier encounters.

The first of those meetings saw the club make history back in 1976 when Eric Ashton's team travelled Down Under for the first ever World Club Challenge.

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There to meet them at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground were the formidable Australian Premiers - Eastern Suburbs - as the Roosters were then known.

Led from the front by the uncompromising test warrior Arthur Beetson, the Tricolours gave Saints a torrid time before running out 25-2 victors to take the global bragging rights.

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There was some mitigation in the loss - the game taking place some six weeks after Saints' famous Dads Army team had concluded the season by adding the Premiership Trophy and Challenge Cup to the BBC 2 Floodlit Trophy they had won earlier in the campaign.

That time off meant Saints lacked the same match sharpness that the battle-hardened Aussies had in abundance - and the Roosters made that tell.

Kel Coslett, skipper for the three-game tour that opened against Queensland state side and concluded with defeat in Auckland, enjoyed the whole experience but felt the timing did not do Saints any favours.

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He said: "We were the first club team to go to Australia and New Zealand so that was a big honour for St Helens.

We did well in two of the games but we did not take it up a notch when we played Roosters.

"It was pretty even for a spell, but they just got away from us.

"The only excuse we had really was that we were playing at the end of June which meant we were not really match-fit.

"We did our best and it was a marvellous experience."

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It was nevertheless a torrid 80 minutes for the men in the red vee, with the battle of the hemispheres played out in front of a 26,158 crowd.

Despite Saints' wily rake Tony Karalius mopping up the contested scrums to the tune of 16-6, the ferocity of the Roosters defence forced errors and they soon asserted their control.

Roosters full back Russell Fairfax started the ball rolling with a chip and collect for the opener, which with a couple of John Brass goals gave the hosts a 7-0 lead.

Although Saints tried valiantly to get a foot-hold in the game, Easts scrum half Kevin Stevens pulled out a solo effort to make it 12-0 at the break.

Although Geoff Pimblett managed a long-range penalty at the start of the second half to get Saints off the mark, Roosters were back for more with their tactic of high bombs and a four-man chase paying dividends.

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Three more tries from Royce Aycliffe, Ian Schubert and Greg Townsend completed the rout by the indomitable Roosters, bossed by master coach Jack Gibson.

Billy Benyon, who played stand off that day, concurred with his skipper about the timing.

"I enjoyed the occasion and being at Sydney Cricket Ground, which I had seen on TV - and we were part of it.

"They were the better team on the day, but if we had gone as a fit side we would have given them a bit more of an honest game.

"Although we were disappointed with the result, we still took it all in - the place where we were playing - and respected that."

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St Helens; 1. Geoff Pimblett 2. Les Jones 3. Eddie Cunningham 4. Derek Noonan 5. Roy Mathias 6. Billy Benyon 7. Ken Gwilliam 8. John Mantle 9. Tony Karalius 10. Kel Coslett (c) 11. Eric Chisnall 12. George Nicholls 13. David Hull 14. Peter Glynn 15. Frank Wilson 16. Graham Liptrot 17. Mel James.

Coach: Eric Ashton