HEAD coach Kristian Woolf is able to select from a full strength side for the first time since taking when Saints restart their Super League campaign against Catalans Dragons at Headingley on Sunday.

With a fully fit squad, refreshed from a four-and-a-half month enforced break during lockdown, the reigning champions have been able to shake off the underlying fatigue that was contributing to some patchy, inconsistent performances in the opening six weeks.

Having started the year without skipper James Roby, former Golden Boot Tommy Makinson and loose forward Morgan Knowles they then lost the influential Lachlan Coote in the opener.

Their outside backs were further exposed when Mark Percival damaged his shoulder at Warrington and needed surgery - robbing Saints of strike and contributing to some disjointed defence on that edge.

Woolf believes underlying fatigue from the exertion of the title winning season, combined with those fitness concerns, contributed to that lack of consistency which showed itself pretty well in the last two defeats before the curtain temporarily came down.

Woolf said: "Our biggest issue before lockdown was that we had a fair bit of carry over fatigue.

"A number of guys played internationals and had a short lead into the season. On top of that a number had had surgery or injury and didn’t start the year.

"I think we also underestimated the impact of the World Club Challenge – so those sorts of things coupling together led to a fair bit of fatigue that we missed in hindsight.

"That is something that the COVID period has given us a chance to get rid of. There is no more of that underlying fatigue.

"Everyone is fresh, everyone has recovered from surgery and is not just trying to catch up with things, everyone has had a good break and is ready to go. We can throw out a team for the first time this year with what you would consider full strength with everyone available."

A fully fit roster will undoubtedly lead to selection headaches for this first week - with the new rule changes and the arrival of James Graham in place of Luke Thompson giving further food for thought.

However, given the gruelling nature of this re-scheduled competition - particularly towards the back end - Woolf admits that the whole squad will need to deliver if they are to back up last year's Grand Final success.

Referring to the sides playing multiple games at the back end of the campaign, Woolf said: "What it does mean going forward is that we are going to have to rotate our squad and players and a real positive side to that will be having to blood young players. Usually you have to try and find opportunities to do that, but we are going to have to do it at different times and throw some good young players in and see how they hold up at this level and some are going to come up really good and surprise us. Others may struggle but we will know where we are at.

The team that wins at the end of the year will be the one who has the squad to help them win the games, not just 17 players.