SAINTS secured the points against bottom team Leigh Centurions on Thursday, rested a few bodies and gave game time to squad men who needed it – job done.

Three-quarters into a fiercely contested game few would have expected Saints to have chalked up a 42-12 outcome but they finished strongly.

Perhaps a few eyebrows were raised when it was revealed an hour or so before kick-off that Kristian Woolf had picked a starting team without six of its regulars.

Two of those were forced, of course – with Tommy Makinson and James Bentley suspended – but Mark Percival, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Joel Thompson were all rested, while skipper James Roby occupied a seat on the bench.

It meant starting roles for Aaron Smith at hooker and Josh Simm in the centres, while Jake Wingfield was on the bench making his comeback from shoulder trouble.

And Sione Mata’utia and Kyle Amor were back in the fold after missing the previous week’s 26-2 win at Wigan.

With a fair few changes made, the last thing Saints needed was to have not amassed the points their early domination of the game merited and then lose star man Jonny Lomax with a hamstring injury on the 50-minute mark.

Woolf’s men, with Roby now at stand-off, looked a little rattled as Adam Sidlow crashed over for Leigh’s second chargeover try from close range, reducing the deficit to 18-12.

It was game on, with Leigh sniffing an opportunity to build on their first win of the season against Salford Red Devils four days earlier.

But then Saints changed their line-up again and it proved to be the undoing of Leigh.

Getting Roby back in his usual position of hooker and handing two-try left centre Welsby the stand-off role vacated by Lomax – courtesy of switching Mata’utia out of the pack – resulted in Saints dominating the final quarter.

They scored four tries without reply, with the sensational Welsby creating two of them thanks to his willingness to attack the defensive line with electrifying speed off the mark.

Leigh’s spirit was perhaps broken to a degree by falling two scores behind again when Mata’utia galloped through a hole in Leigh’s right-edge defence that Welsby had enjoyed exploiting earlier.

Some lovely free-flowing rugby led to further scores from Lachlan Coote, whose distribution skill also had a hand in several tries, Joe Batchelor and Lewis Dodd in an 11-minute rally.

It all went to prove that Woolf had got his team selection right in a difficult period in which making full use of the squad is the likely way to ensure bodies are not burnt out for the final few games of the season that matter the most.

Saints: Lachlan Coote; Kevin Naiqama, Josh Simm, Jack Welsby, Regan Grace; Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd; Alex Walmsley, Aaron Smith, Matty Lees, Sione Mata’utia, Joe Batchelor, Morgan Knowles. Subs: James Roby, Kyle Amor, Agnatius Paasi, Jake Wingfield.