SAINTS began life at Langtree Park with a 38-10 win over Salford.
But it didn’t go all to plan as they had to come back from 10 points down to break their opponent’s resilience.
Tries from Jodie Broughton and Ashley Gibson gave Salford a deserved lead.
Royce Simmons’ men had a lot of possession yet only had a solitary try to show for their endeavours.
The Reds on the other hand attacked with purpose and looked dangerous on every set.
Saints started the second half in the ascendency and made that pressure tell through James Roby and Francis Meli.
Two from Andy Dixon sandwiched a sweet Jon Wilkin score and ensured Saints are two from two this season.
Simmons said in midweek he was prepared to rotate his squad to make sure all his players get valuable game time earlier in the season.
So Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook was left out of the side for the return of Tony Puletua, whilst Ade Gardner came in for the injured Jamie Foster.
Familiar looking names on the Salford teamsheet included Matty Ashurst and Matty Smith.
It was an emotional start to the match with a parade of legends, ribbon cutting and Tom Van Vollenhoven bringing out the match ball.
And it was nearly the perfect start from Saints as Salford struggled to get out of their own half and on the return, Tommy Makinson was just held up on his back.
Salford then forced a drop out and from the resultant pressure Jodie Broughton plunged over in the corner thanks to a fine pass from Joel Moon. Daniel Holdsworth hitting the post with his conversion.
Sia Soliola almost replied with a typical bulldozing run but the ball was lost over the line.
Salford then hit Saints again on 25 minutes.
The ball was kept alive and the City Reds got two on one on the right, chipped ahead and Ashley Gibson cleaned up.
Soliola was awarded a try via benefit of the doubt and then Lee Gaskell was inches away.
But moments later Hohaia produced a neat kick through for Makinson to touch down – but he was pulled back for the knock on.
Salford then went straight up the end of the field and Gibson found himself held up on his back – thanks to a superb double tackle from Hohaia and Dixon.
Saints knocked on the door early in the second half but Wheeler was just in touch as the ball was pushed right.
But on their next set they got the try their pressure deserved. Another chip through and this time Roby put down under pressure.
Makinson levelling matters.
With their tails up Saints came good once again, carving open the Salford defence and using some great last play handling skills to give Meli a fine score – his 111st in 171 appearances.
Lomax and Gaskell both involved.
Dixon popped up next for his second in two matches and then Jon Wilkin got his Testimonial season off to a great start.
Makinson adding his fourth.
And then Soliola fed Dixon for his second – all off the great work from Lee Gaskell who flew down the pitch to set up Saints’ field position.
Anthony Laffranchi pushed through at the end and that brought up 38 unanswered points for the home side and ended a satisfying, emotional and historic night at Langtree Park.
Tries: Soliola, Roby, Meli, Dixon (2), Wilkin, Laffranchi
Goals: Makinson (5 from 7)
Tries: Broughton, Gibson
Goals: Holdsworth (1 from 2)
REF: Richard Silverwood
6. Lance Hohaia; 21. Tommy Makinson, 17. Gary Wheeler, 5. Francis Meli, 2. Ade Gardner; 20. Lee Gaskell, 7. Jonny Lomax; 11. Tony Puletua, 9. James Roby, 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 13. Chris Flannery, 4. Sia Soliola, 12. Jon Wilkin.
Subs: 8. Josh Perry, 16. Paul Clough, 19. Andrew Dixon, 24. Nathan Ashe.
1. Luke Patten; 2. Jodie Broughton, 18. Ashley Gibson, 4. Joel Moon, 5. Danny Williams; 6. Daniel Holdsworth, 7. Matty Smith; 12. Shannan McPherson, 24. Stuart Howarth, 20. Ben Gledhill, 16. Luke Adamson, 11. Matty Ashurst, 13. Stephen Wild.
Subs: 8. Lee Jewitt, 14. Chris Nero, 15. Adam Sidlow, 23. Garath Owen.
A short audio match report of this game can be downloaded here.