WHAT a time to be a Saints fan!

We go marching on...and certainly in the driving seat to bag some significant silverware this season.

So much so, that Super League title sponsors Betfred have stopped all bets on the Saints picking up the League Leaders Shield after the regular rounds, following this weekend’s results putting us six points clear.

Betfred also have Saints as 6/5 clear favourites to go all the way in Super League and pick up the prize at the Grand Final in October.....and also 5/2 to do the double including the Challenge Cup success at Wembley.

As I said last week after the Hull game, a sign of a good team is to be able to grind out a win when not playing as well as can be....and this was again the case against Hull KR on Friday.

Justin Holbrook’s description summed it up…slow and scrappy. Understandably the Saints came into this game on the back of a very physical and mentally tough encounter the week before in the Challenge Cup quarter final win against Hull FC, and this will have certainly had a bearing on this latest performance. I know as a player, sometimes after a big win it can be somewhat of a subconscious anti-climax the following week, certainly against one of the lower teams in Super League, with all due respect. Anyway, a win is a win.

So, despite an under par performance, the Saints fans will be much happier than our arch rivals in the Betfred Super League, with Leeds, Wigan and Warrington all dropping points this week. As I predicted, Wakefield would have too much for the struggling Warriors, as their season goes from bad to worse...and have since parted company with Joel Tomkins, who has joined Hull KR following his controversial off-field antics.

However, it’s been announced that former Saints back-rower Joe Greenwood will head back from NRL club Gold Coast Titans to join Wigan, maybe to fill the void left by Tomkins.

So on to Leeds away this week for Saints, and with the Rhinos' current form and injury issues I can only see one winner. However, one thing I’m certain of Leeds will go into this game with nothing to lose and I’m sure will raise their performance for the league leaders. This is where we need to be ruthless and turn in a clinical performance and leave Headingley eight points clear! I’m going for a Saints win by 12pts (6/4 at Betfred)

Finally, as reward for some outstanding performances this season...it is great to see FIVE Saints selected for England’s mid-season test against New Zealand in Denver next weekend.

Luke Thompson, whom I’ve raved about all season, along with the outstanding Tommy Makinson are set to make their England debuts, alongside Jonny Lomax, Mark Percival and the all-class James Roby.

The latter joined our 100-try club with his four pointer against Hull KR.

Good luck to all the lads involved.

Paul Sculthorpe