HAVING had time to reflect on Saints' 44-12 defeat at Salford - Saints coach Kristian Woolf was able to give a measured but brutally honest assessment of Sunday's failings when the Star's Mike Critchley caught up with him - and he promised that lessons would learned all round.

MC: What has been the reaction to Sunday’s bad loss?

KW: There is always a positive in the sense that it gives us a chance to have a really good look at things and an evaluation of where we are at and identify a few things where we need to be better at going forward.

You never want a loss like that, and one that was so far off our standards that that game was.

But at the same time there is always a positive to losses and you tend to look at things a bit harder and learn a lot from a loss as well. And that is what we are going to do.

St Helens Star:

MC: We have not seen a Saints performance like that in your time at the club – that is why is came as a shock?

KW: That is right – and that is what makes it so disappointing really. As I said after the game, we certainly did not uphold our usual standards or our usual character.

Again, sometimes you need that to have a good hard look at things and make sure you take the learnings. At the end of the day the person who is most responsible there is myself.

If the team does not perform that is my responsibility and my failure and I am the one that needs to take the biggest learnings out of it.

MC: Can you explain the areas that you are specifically addressing– or is that best kept in-house?

KW: They are probably things that we will keep in house - but there are probably things we will take a good look at in terms of how we have approached that game in particular, but maybe also the last couple of weeks.

We are going to change that and have a very different approach this week.

And I have no doubt that we are going to get a very different result this week as well and we will see what we usually see from our team in terms of standards and character and those things that we always show.

St Helens Star:

MC: The team has not lost two in a row since 2020 – that response to defeats has been a strong feature you’ll want to maintain?

KW: We go out every week to win and have always learned from losses and disappointments and been a lot better the next week.

We want to win this week – there is no doubt about that – but the most important thing is the performance and what we show in that. Us looking like us is the most important thing.

MC: Will the success of Salford’s style be an invitation for other teams to try and beat Saints that way?

KW: Look, to be honest, I don’t think Salford played a lot different to the way a lot of other teams do try and play. Their approach was exactly what we expected – and where they deserve a lot of credit is where they executed really well and they played to their potential.

You always have to look at it from two ways; we were a long way off where we usually are and what our usual standards are but there was nothing in what Salford brought that we did not expect because we know that they are a quality side. If you have a look at their 1-7 they have a quality backline that can hurt you when they are on their game and we are not. And that is exactly what the case was.

St Helens Star:

MC: You never use injuries as mitigation but the Saints side is missing a few out of that 1-7 backline?

KW: It is not an excuse and the reason it is not is because we have got a good squad and we have confidence in our squad that blokes can come in and do great jobs. We have seen that plenty of times with Jon Bennison, Ben Davies and the young team we threw out against Cas in April. All those guys have stepped up to say that they deserve more opportunities.

We were not at our best at the weekend and we needed our best players to be firing. We were not quite there, whether it was the young blokes or our best players. This is my responsibility and I need to make sure that I take the message there and I take the learnings there to make sure I get the preparation right this week to make sure we are at our best.

MC: And will you be getting anybody back this week?

KW: We do get Tommy Makinson back – and it will be great to get him back because we know what he offers the team.

He brings 18-20 carries a game, he finds a way to finish things and he does a lot of the little things well and he is really complete player for his position.

St Helens Star:

The thing that he brings to us the most is that he brings a real energy and a desire for the contest and that is infectious and it is going to be great to have that back in the team.

He takes some heat off the forwards with his work-rate and willingness to put his hand up. But he also finds you points when they are not necessarily there.

You can never rely on one player, but he is one who is going to come back in and make an impact.

He is the only one who is going to return to the team this week, unfortunately.