Alex Wants Saints Focus

ALEX Walmsley is expecting a Leeds backlash when Saints travel to Headingley this Friday.

The Rhinos were beaten 28-6 by Wigan last weekend in what was their fourth defeat of the season.

But the front rower says Saints can’t be looking at the form guide when the two sides lock horns.

“We can’t focus too much on the league table; it has been well documented where they are in the league at the moment,” he said. “We are expecting a tough battle as they have depth in their squad and the skill to fire.

“There will be a backlash as they have had a disappointing loss to Wigan. They will be looking at this game to set a marker down in front of their home fans.

“They always start quick so we need to match their enthusiasm. It is a great place to play at, a good pitch and I can’t wait.”

He continued: “I think we have been building nicely since the Sydney game and what has been missing is a full 80 minute performance. We’ve had good results against Hull KR and Castleford but we wanted to put a full 80 minutes in. It has been a while since we have done that.

“We made sure we were on point from the off. Our first defensive set set the tone. We needed to do that because they can play footy if they are allowed.

“It was important we turned up with the right attitude to do the right things from the off. We knew they would be up for it after they had lost their coach.”

The result was Saints’ fourth win of the season from five and has them just two points behind Wigan and Widnes at the top of the table.

Despite that, Walmsley is aware that the side’s performances have drawn some criticism.

“We’re happy with our start,” he continued. “The fans here have been blessed with some wonderful teams and amazing triumphs. You only have to look around the ground and the training ground to see the players on the walls.

“We are building into that. The fans want entertaining rugby and we want to give it to them too.

“We have to grind out wins at this stage and focus on doing the right things. It will pay dividends in the end.

“The Wakefield game was probably the first time we have played in dry conditions … and we scored 44 points. Once it dries up further, with the players we have, you’ll see that fast flowing attacking rugby a lot more.”

Tickets for Saints’ trip to Leeds this Friday March 18 (8pm) remain on sale from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.

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