St Helens display against Salford a microcosm of the season so far

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Saints will be back among the title chasers once a raft of absentees are available for selection.

Jekyll and Hyde Saints demolished Salford 26-12 at a sun-kissed Totally Wicked Stadium on Saturday lunch-time and it was a result which summed up perfectly their defence of the Super League title so far this season.

Saints conjured-up a breath-taking and mind-boggling second-half recovery following a way below par opening to deny the Mancunians a long-awaited victory in St Helens.

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It was also a fitting finale to an afternoon when skipper James Roby smashed Kel Costlett’s all-time club appearance record covering 531 matches between 1962 and 1975 and deservedly received a pre-match guard of honour from the 11,000-strong crowd.

Inconsistency has also haunted Saints all season with only six victories in 11 league outings telling its own story and reflected in the manner they ended Salford’s four-match winning streak.

Saints were far too strong and powerful for their neighbours in this period despite the absence of key men, including Mark Percival, Sione Mata’utia, Konrad Hurrell, Morgan  Knowles and Agnatius Paasi.

I expect them to improve vastly on their current seventh spot and be back among the title chasers once a raft of absentees are available for selection - and don’t overlook the fact they have a fixture in hand over the majority of their rivals.

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Coach Paul Wellens said: "At half-time, I wasn’t overly disappointed. I thought  we just had a couple of defensive lapses which cost us. We just needed to tidy up our discipline with the ball and we got that in the second half."

Salford coach Paul Rowley, however, was unhappy with the Red Devils’ display, but felt some of the decisions went against them. He said: "We left a lot of points on the field but indiscipline with the ball hurt us more than anything else.

"They beat us up in the second half which was disappointing but there is stuff we will look back on and say we left it on the field.”

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