NOBODY will be getting carried away with the result of Saints’ last pre-season friendly before the real business starts in less than a fortnight, nevertheless there were plenty of positives to draw from the manner of Saints’ 52-10 victory over Salford Red Devils.

It was a game in which some of the dazzling tries put a smile on the faces of the 4,000 who filled the West and South Stands – with highlights coming in each half of the game from both the senior and junior members of the team.

Again, with the caveat of it being a friendly, there were signs that Saints have begun to evolve their attacking game that was highlighted as the key improvement area in the end of year debrief.

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The net result was some exciting long range tries, with the support play involved in George Delaney hitting James Bell’s short ball for Jack Welsby’s try being one first half highlight and the long-range effort from Dayon Sambou being the pick of the second 40.

Throw in a 75-metre effort from speedy hooker Daryl Clark and the mesmeric cut-out pass from Jonny Lomax to Tommy Makinson, and there was plenty of the end products of Saints’ attacking aspects to marvel at.

Coach Paul Wellens is not one to book the open-top bus after one positive friendly performance, but he was satisfied with the afternoon’s endeavours.

He said: “We have worked on a number of things throughout pre-season, and one of those areas has been our attacking and I wanted the players to use this game as an opportunity to practise what we've been working on in training.

“At the same time you have to do that with a discipline and have to put the tough stuff first and I thought we got the balance right.”

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Saints have played with a remarkably similar style for a number of years, and with that gameplan and approach delivering the title for four years on the trot there was never any haste to fix what was not broken.

The end of that Grand Final-winning streak, with Saints falling short in the two big semi-finals, left them with areas to address – specifically what shapes they were throwing at opposition defences.

And Wellens says that is what he, his staff and the players have done as they bid to reclaim the title that is now residing on the other side of the lump.

“We have done a fair bit of soul searching,” said the Saints boss.

“And I think what it needs sometimes is a failure and a disappointment to really sit down and go through where you can find improvement.

“It's been a wonderful four or five years for the club, and I very much now want us to go on a different journey and a fresh path where our goals, aims or standards don't change too much, but I do think we have to redefine who we are because the game is changing as well.

“We're all well aware of that, so we have to make adjustments and what I'm really pleased with is that I have got a playing group who are open to change.

“I was involved in something in the past that was successful and because you have been successful you are reluctant to change and you become quite stubborn.

“I don't see that within this team, so that excites me.”

The sight of Sambou collecting the ball from a scrum on his own line, and arcing around his marker before pining his ears back and racing down the touchline will have excited all present. He is clearly a player with huge potential and at the start of his journey in the red vee.

But some of the old favourites from the first half brought some equally impressive touches without the fans jumping out of their seats, with skipper Lomax producing the pearler of a cut-out pass for Makinson to score in space.

Wellens was happy with how his halves conducted the Saints orchestra in the first half.

He said: “Our halves combination for the first 40 minutes went really well. Lewis Dodd looked like a genuine 7, stepping up, controlling the game, being on the ball – and in Jonny and Jack, you have two blokes prepared to let him do that and let him get on with his job.

“Off the back of that they inject themselves into the game effectively.

“And pass of Jonny’s is an example of that and Jack getting up in support for a break to score a try was another example.

“So we'll continue to work hard on that area as there is improvement in us, but the early signs are good.”

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Sunday’s game was the seniors first under the new tweaks to the rules around the ruck area, with officials making it clear that it is one aspect of the game that they intend to clean up.

Saints did not appear to fall foul of any strictness in that area – and they produced a disciplined display that Wellens wants his team to replicate once the business starts at home to London a week on Friday.

Wellens said: “I thought our discipline was excellent in terms of tackle technique and playing the ball correctly, being square at markers and not jumping offside.

“I thought we were really good in that area and it's something that we continue - and I'll not be different than any other coach in the competition – we are all working really hard in those areas because we've been told by the officials that that's going to be scrutinised more heavily this year.

“I thought it was a great standard and if we stay somewhere around that for the course of the year, I'll be very happy.”