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Simmons blames stage-fright
Saints coach pays tribute to Roby
St Helens coach Royce Simmons admitted his players let the occasion get to them before hitting back to beat Salford 38-10.
The Reds threatened to spoil Saints' party when they led 10-4 at half-time of the Super League curtain-raiser at the new Langtree Park.
But Saints came to life in the second half to go top of the table with two wins from their first two matches.
"I think having all the great players here and the build-up over the last month or more, it got to us," said Simmons.
"Our ball completion was very poor in the first half, which came back to a lot of blokes playing as individuals.
"Salford's ball completion was up in the eighties and we were down to 50 at one part of the first half.
"We needed half-time. We spoke about settling down and in the second half it was definitely a big improvement."
Simmons singled out for special praise acting captain James Roby, who followed up his man-of-the-match performance against London Broncos with another impressive show.
"Roby's been fantastic," he said. "It seems like he starts up where he finishes. Nothing is a problem to him, he just keeps going.
"He doesn't get a lot of recognition for his defence but he cleans up in the middle of the ruck."
Salford coach Phil Veivers added: "We had to deal with a lot of adversity. We had eight players that couldn't train until yesterday.
"We put a lot of effort in but effort alone doesn't win you ball games. We came here to be competitive and we thought we could win.
"We spoke in the week about it being a circus tonight and we were hoping to spoil the party. At half-time we were right in the frame to do that.
"We were pretty happy at half-time, although I was disappointed with the try that was given by the video referee and one that we didn't get.
"They upped the tempo in the second half and we stopped doing what was working for us in the first half. We went 10 or 11 sets when we saw the ball once.
"I'm very disappointed with how the score blew out at the end. They played some good footie and we missed tackles."
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First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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