WHAT a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago Theo Fages had to sit on the sidelines and simply watch on powerless as a Saints season that promised so much ended with the bitter disappointment of a late semi final knock out.

The 24-year-old Frenchman re-doubled his efforts in the off-season to regain his spot and do his bit to help deliver the silverware the fans crave.

Industrious and dogged on both sides of the ball, Fages has reclaimed his spot from Danny Richardson with a vengeance, combining well with Lachlan Coote and the outstanding Jonny Lomax to supply the brains trust behind the brawn of the dominant Saints pack.

On Saturday night, in the Saints dressing room, he beamed with delight over mission accomplished for both himself and the team.

Reflecting on the game he said: "We started well. It is what we talked about and we did it.

"We controlled the middle and played fast and that is what we wanted to do.

"It worked well against Wigan in the semi final - and we knew it would work well against any team.

"Our pack is fantastic - I think we have the best pack in Super League and we have proved that in the final."

Saints finished the campaign with a remarkable Super League record, losing just three games, included the two when depleted sides went down to London - to finish top by a record 16-point margin.

That week-to-week consistency, based on solid graft and teamwork, needed to be rewarded with something more than the League Leaders Shield.

On Saturday it was - and after the bitter disappointment of losing the Challenge Cup Final - and they delivered.

Fages said: "Everyone works hard and that is what we pride ourselves in. We all graft hard and do our jobs - we did that.

"We were consistent this season, but we had to deliver on the big stage.

"We did not do that at Wembley, so it was another test for us ball of our work paid off for us."

A real fans favourite, Fages was delighted to win it for the team, the departing coach - but also for those "buzzing" supporters who did not look like they wanted to leave the Stretford End.

"This win is for everyone," he said.

"It is fantastic to send Justin off with the trophy. But the boys wanted to win - this is what we play for.

"Our fantastic fans, too, who have been there pushing us all year - at home they are class, away they are class and today it was absolutely amazing atmosphere.

"It was a dream come true for all of us. It is so good to see the fans buzzing."