EXPERIENCED second row Zeb Taia sat out Saints’ latest win over Hull KR on Friday night ­— the game coming just hours after his wife Nikki added to the family netball team with the birth of their third daughter, Lola.

Both he ­— and Alex Walmsley who was also on new baby duties ­— are back in action this week for what will be another tough test of Saints’ 100 per cent record.

As a former Dragon, who spent three season in Perpignan, Taia knows what to expect from Saturday’s trip to the south of France.

And like coach Justin Holbrook, he won’t be reading to much into the Dragons’ pitiful capitulation at Wigan on Sunday, when it comes to playing them on their own midden.

Recognising those traits from his stint there between 2013-15, Taia said: “It was a massive problem when I was at Catalans.

“When we travelled away we struggled to win games. You would rock up at an away ground and the same intensity was not there from the week before at home.

“I expect Catalans to be at their best this week.

“That said, I expect every team to be at their best when they come up against us because we have won eight in a row and everyone wants to knock us off.

“There is no hiding from that - and we need to be at our best if we want to keep winning.

“Catalans can be hostile at times, but the only way to keep them quiet is to go about your business and not worry about it if they get the ‘crowd’ penalties.

“It is going to be a tough, hard, physical game and we are just going to worry about ourselves and play our own game.”

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Saturday is the start of a run of tough fixtures ­— with physical challenges at home to Warrington and at Wigan, at the start of the Easter double header, on the horizon.

But Taia says they cannot get ahead of themselves.

“I have looked at the next month and every game is tough because we are going into that Easter period after Warrington.

“But we have to take it one game at a time - starting with Catalans,” he said.

Saints are playing well - with Taia himself rolling back the years in an industrious pack that has laid the platform with the winning start.

“We are working hard for each other and doing the little things right, stuff that often gets unnoticed,” the veteran packman said.

"It is not that much different to last year, but at the same time there are a few things that we talked about in the pre-season about our core values and everyone is living up to them.

"There are a few things we might have tweaked but our football style is still the same.

"We can play footy, but for us to play that expansive style we need to do the little stuff right first and that is what we are doing."

The 34-year-old has been consistently good all year ­— and although others tend to take the plaudits ­— his performance at Castleford a fortnight ago was out of the top drawer.

He was not alone that night ­— in a performance Saints got absolutely right at the Jungle.

Taia explained: "Each team is different and we approach them differently - with the Cas team we know that they love to throw the ball about and offload.

"But we knew if we kept working hard and putting them in tough spots it would be hard for them to play that style of footy.

"That first half was probably one of the toughest halves of the year ­— but we continued with that in the second half and ran away with it."

Taia is loving his life in St Helens since arriving here in early 2017 in a deal that initially sent Joe Greenwood, now of Wigan, heading to the Gold Coast.

His stay in south Lancashire continues his well-travelled career.

With his parents from one of the Cook Islands, Taia was born in Auburn, a Western suburb of Sydney and went on to start his pro career at nearby Parramatta.

He headed north up the New South Wales coast to Newcastle for a six year stint, before signing up with Catalans Dragons in 2013.

When he head back to Australia, with a deal at the Queensland-based Gold Coast club, his travelling days seemed to be over.

But then Saints came knocking for an experienced second row - in what was then a difficult time for the club.

Justin Holbrook on looking after James Roby>

But Taia is glad that he made the decision to return to Europe.

"When I left Catalans to return to Australia I thought that was it - but I am grateful.

"I am glad that I came here this club is awesome with a great history.

"It is great here and we have a strong bond among the players and we we fit in well together.

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"I have known Joseph Paulo (above) a long time and used to play with his brother (at Parramatta) - and it is the same with Kevin (Naiqama) as I have known him since playing with his older brother at Newcastle.

"It is good to see them come over and I am happy that they have signed here.

"Throw Dom into the crew and Cootey has settled in really well off the field as well as on it.

"We try to hang around with each other a lot ­— and get the families together," he said.