Rugby League talking points: St Helens stay perfect and Salford's win in numbers
By Sky Sports Rugby League
Last Updated: 11/03/19 2:29pm
St Helens continue their perfect start, Huddersfield get up and running while Catalans are swept aside by Salford in this week's talking points...
Saints' patience rewarded
In inclement weather conditions, leaders St Helens did not have things go all their own way against a resolute London Broncos, who were eager to rip up the script through unorthodox tactics with the ball in hand to go alongside stubborn rearguard action.
But when your team boasts such class as Jonny Lomax and Theo Fages, pressure is always likely to tell, and Saints showed the necessary courage to beat their opposite man on enough occasions to secure a 26-0 win - their fifth straight victory to start the season.
Lachlan Coote continued his own personal upward curve with another promising display to further demonstrate that Saints are the team to beat this year. Justin Holbrook's men were without their skipper James Roby, but Aaron Smith showed glimpses of his huge potential in filling those sizeable boots.
Holbrook said afterwards: "I want to give our boys a big rap. These can be difficult games and we turned up and put in a quality performance which is the most pleasing thing. We kept calm and it was a great performance."
Salford's crushing of Catalans broken down
Salford returned to winning ways in style as Catalans Dragons were thrashed 46-0 on Saturday - which got the statisticians crunching their numbers. It makes impressive reading for the Red Devils...
- It was Salford's first win in Perpignan in eight visits - since 2011 - after a run of six defeats and a draw. The 46-0 verdict was Salford's biggest away win in the Super League in terms of a margin - 46 points surpassing 36 in the 54-18 win at Hull in 2017.
- That 2017 win at Hull remains Salford's highest away score in the Super League but 46 equals their second-highest away score (at Widnes in 2017). Salford have nilled the opposition in an away game in the Super League for the first time.
- It is only the seventh time in 537 weekly-round fixtures that Salford have nilled the opposition - three of them against Catalans. Salford have nilled two teams in their opening six matches this season - also defeated London 24-0 at home.
- The only previous Super League season in which Salford nilled two teams was 2006 when they qualified for the Super League play-offs for the only time under Karl Harrison. They have now nilled Catalans on three occasions, previously on visits to the Willows in 2006 (16-0) and 2007 (10-0).
But not so great for Catalans...
- Catalans were nilled for only the 2nd time in 174 weekly-round home fixtures - previously lost 0-26 to Warrington in 2018. The 46-point margin of defeat is the second-worst in a home game for Catalans.
- Worst was when they suffered 48-point defeat when going down to 10-58 against Leeds at Stade Aime Giral in their debut 2006 season - but had Alex Chan sent off.
Leeds and Wigan struggling
Both the Rhinos and the Warriors are really struggling on the pitch. Adrian Lam's side were certainly not helped by the withdrawals of Dom Manfredi and Liam Marshall in the first half against Huddersfield, but frustrations got the better of them.
A creative spark remains absent from the defending champions, and while an improvement is expected, just two wins from their opening six games already puts pressure on their chances of reaching the play-offs.
Talk of retaining their crown will be far from the mind of Lam, who believes a Grand Final hangover might be behind his side's woeful start to the campaign.
He said: "Maybe it's an attitude that we deserve to win without doing the effort that goes with it.
"There may be a bit of a hangover in terms of them being happy with last year, the Grand Final, and they think we can turn up and win every game which you can't do when they're the premiers and everyone wants to beat you - that's all I can put it down to."
Things aren't much better for Leeds, who are only off the bottom of the table on points difference after Hull FC consigned them to a 34-10 loss - a fifth defeat in six matches. Most galling for Dave Furner will be the manner in which his side surrendered a 10-0 lead and failed to recover from conceding five first-half tries.
Hull, Huddersfield see light at end of tunnel
Since Gareth Ellis came out of retirement, Hull FC have now won three games in a row after a run of 13 defeats that dates back to June last year.
They had over 12,000 in the stadium on Friday night when they beat Leeds and they have just signed Andre Savelio as well so it seems like the Black and Whites are enjoying a bit of a revival.
It has been a torrid start to the campaign for Huddersfield Giants, and while they remain bottom of the table, a first two points of the season against Wigan will act as the perfect shot in the arm.
After four opening losses, Simon Woolford made five changes to his starting line-up, but it was a player he retained faith in - Kruise Leeming - who inspired Huddersfield to a 14-6 victory at the DW Stadium.
Taulima Tautai's sin bin certainly helped matters, but England Knights international Leeming was at the heart of everything good about the Giants, both through his attacking plays and in defence.
Toronto's run comes to an end
Toronto had only conceded four tries in their opening five games in the Betfred Championship - but on Saturday they conceded seven, including six in the second half alone as they were beaten 46-16 at Toulouse.
The Wolfpack remain top of the table by two points but the chasing pack, spearheaded by the Sheffield Eagles, will take confidence from how easily their defence was breached in the south of France.
Toulouse strung together 40 unanswered points as Toronto collapsed, but only a ninth ever competitive loss in three seasons is unlikely to alarm new coach Brian McDermott despite a result that had seemed coming after a far from convincing success over Dewsbury last time out.
He said afterwards: "It hurts. Our challenge is to react to that and be very good next week. I don't need to make them feel good about themselves right now. If they're hurting right now, that's how they need to be."