Today was a brilliant day for Saints fans.
For the second time in a matter of days, they defeated one of their apparent title rivals backing up from a win over Wigan with a win against a battling Huddersfield side by 24 points to 12 in a superb contest.
It leaves Saints with just one loss all season – and no defeats on British soil – and outright at the top of the table having put both Wigan and Huddersfield to the sword. It also means they’ve beaten every team inside the top four having defeated Catalans twice already in 2022.
Naturally, this left coach Kristian Woolf delighted at fulltime after his side dealt with a difficult challenge from the Giants: “Huddersfield played really well and really challenged us. They completed really high, doing a lot of things you need to do on a short turnaround.
“We wanted to make sure we came here and got the two points which we did so we’re happy with that. It’s always going to be a real challenge backing up after Friday and it’s a challenge our blokes wanted, they all wanted to back up and wanted that opportunity to take that challenge on.
He also revealed why every player wanted to back up after the Good Friday win despite the short turnaround and against very good opponents as Woolf branded the Giants as a “top three side.”
“It was the sort of game our blokes wanted to go after,” Woolf said, “Our blokes all wanted to back up. We gave a few of the older guys some option there and every one of them wanted to play and back up from Friday.
“I think that’s a really good sign and a sign of their mentality. I think the fact that we were playing Huddersfield was a big part of that. They are a top three team and will certainly be in around at the end of the year. I think they showed that today. So, it was a real challenge our blokes wanted to get after.”
So, it was a statement victory and one Saints can be very happy with. But there is something for Kristian Woolf to worry about and that’s how he’s going to replace Lewis Dodd after he confirmed he would be out for the season.
“Lewis Dodd is unfortunately going to be out for the rest of the season. He’s got a significant achilles injury there,” Woolf confirmed, “It’s a real blow to him, it’s a devastating blow for him. I look at what he’s done for this team over the last 12 months, he was a big part of the success last year and winning the Grand Final last year and all the success we’ve had at the start of the year, he’s a big part of that.
“In my eyes he’s the form halfback in the competition and round about the England side at the end of the year. It’s devastating news for him and the second year in a row we’ve lost our number seven; that’s a hard thing to overcome.
“But what I know about this group and they showed it today, they’ve got a real resilience and a really good way of getting around each other when someone needs it like Lewis will. They’ve got a real way of banding together and overcoming those obstacles and that’s what I expect them to do this year.
He also addressed how the Champions will fill the void left by Dodd having lost their number seven early in the season for the second consecutive campaign.
He confirmed that there would be no transfer activity and that he would trust his squad: “We’re going to find different ways to put things together without our number seven.
“We won’t be going to the market, we’ll fill that from within. Roby was great today particularly in the second half.
“Joey Lussick is a bloke we’ve brought in to play big minutes at nine and he was good enough to play 80 today. We’ve got Will Hopoate who comes back in a week or two. He’s an international fullback and has played well over 150 games of NRL at fullback. He’s a class player and a versatile player and is an option for us there.”