SAINTS boss Justin Holbrook was full of praise for Aussie fullback Ben Barba after Saints’ 46-6 opening win over Castleford.

Fans had been looking forward to seeing the former NRL star begin his first full season with the red vee after getting a full pre-season under his belt after joining the club midway through last season.

And the fullback didn’t disappoint, scoring two tries and showing touches of class in both attack and defence, highlights including a great cover tackle to force Tigers winger Greg Eden into touch and then going over for his second try of the night moments later.

Holbrook said: “He was great Benny, wasn’t he.

“He was really good, especially when we were down to 12 men and he came up with that big tackle and the next set scores a try himself.

“Special players can produce special plays and he did two within two minutes so I thought he was fantastic.   

“I always thought that Benny was going to play and produce some of the things he’s done.”

The Saints coach added: “I said that a number of times about having a full pre-season instead of playing his first game when everyone else had played 26 last year. He was always going to be rusty but I was confident in the pre-season he’s had and he hasn’t just had a pre-season.

“He came back two and a half weeks earlier than everyone else and wanted to keep training and if you do those sort of things you get the rewards.”

Saints produced some impressive attacking rugby to record the comprehensive win and lay down an early marker for the rest of the season.

Holbrook added: “The boys were fantastic tonight and we’re off to a great start. Everyone will get better as they year goes on and Cas will be disappointed tonight but from our end I couldn’t ask for any more.

“I definitely didn’t come here tonight thinking we were going to win with that scoreline. You’re always confident with your pre-season and I’m obviously really pleased.

“Jonny was outstanding in the first half and really got our left edge firing and we had the luxury of having Theo there who didn’t miss a beat either.”