Take it on the chin - and ignore any early season on-line criticism. That’s my message to World Club Challenge winners St Helens after their stuttering start to Super League 2023.
It’s a question of going back to basics and tweaking one or two areas which require attention and at the same time remembering you don’t suddenly become a poor team overnight.
All kinds of theories have been bandied about, especially on social media which I personally take with a proverbial pinch of salt, but this is not the time to throw brickbats at head coach Paul Wellens and his team.
In fact, the opposite applies and any extra encouragement the playing staff receive from the fans will be more than welcome.
Few supporters would have expected the champions to be on the ropes at this early stage of the season and it’s the kind of situation Saints haven’t experienced in recent years.
Every person has a right to express his or her opinion - but after less than a handful of league fixtures this year? I don’t think so.
Retaining the title for an unprecedented fifth successive year would be a feather in Saints’ cap and extra sweet for local boy Wellens, who officially took over the hot seat from Aussie Kristian Woolf in October.
He is one of only three St Helens-born coaches to take charge of his hometown club in the Super League era and follows in the footsteps of Keiron Cunningham and temporary boss Mike Rush, now chief executive at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
But being an ex-player, who won nearly every conceivable honour in the sport, Wello knows what is needed to cross the finishing line in pole position.
Blowing away the cobwebs of a tiring and gruelling trip to Australia, which was clearly evident in their second-half capitulation at Leigh, will be one of a number of priorities ahead of Hull FC’s visit to the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday night and like Saints the Airlie Birds are hovering in the lower reaches of the. table,
Consistency has been a real strength of the club in recent seasons and it’s why they are already the bookies’ favourites to collect the silverware at Old Trafford. Write-off Saints at your peril, but they need to get back to the standards they have set in recent years.