St Helens Head Coach Kristian Woolf admired his sides’ resilience as they closed out Hull Kingston Rovers at the Totally Wicked Stadium 25-0.
It was the fifth time in just over a season the Saints secured a ‘clean sheet’ over another Super League team, a result that takes them to the top of the table at this early stage.
Having only conceded six points in their opening two matches, Woolf was thrilled with his side’s enthusiastic defence against a Hull KR side he deemed dangerous in attack.
“I was really happy with our defence. I thought Hull KR came to play, they were really aggressive,” said the Saints coach.
He added: “We had to work really hard to try and break them down. What I was most pleased about was that our defence was outstanding and they are a tricky team defensively.
“They throw a few different things at you. They move the ball a lot and play a lot of second phase and if it sticks, it is really difficult to handle.
“Obviously, they will have games where it does not stick and it will go against them but they came to play and we were good so I am happy.
“They challenged us at different times such as their kicks on plenty of occasions and I was really happy with the way we kept turning up as well.
“We obviously handled the tricks well but we turned up and scrambled really well when we had to.”
Adding to his thoughts, Woolf paid particular attention to how the match was ‘frustrating’ at times for his players but paid them credit for getting the win.
He said: “In terms of ‘chipping away’, I thought Jonny Lomax and Theo Fages did a great job in that department.
“There were a number of calls in the first half that were not correct and that can frustrate you but I thought they did a great job at dealing with that.
“Just staying at it and eventually break Hull KR down, which is what happened.”
Saints briefly lost try-scorer Aaron Smith to a concussion midway through the second half.
Offering an update on the injury, Woolf explained: “Aaron Smith has recovered up there fine now. Obviously, we will have to go through a process with him.
“But as I said with ‘Iggy’ (Agnatius Paasi) last week, what we will not do is take any risks with our players and they will be looked after properly and it will be the same with Aaron this week.”