Brown: Best win yet
St Helens head coach Nathan Brown claimed the Super League leaders' win over Catalan was their best yet as they maintained their 100 per cent record despite suffering second-half injuries.
Saints raced into a 24-0 lead inside the opening half an hour en route to their fifth successive victory, yet after the interval they needed to continually fend off a spirited Dragons side who finally showed some fight in the face of a disappointing start to their campaign.
In the end, a 40-22 final scoreline was more a reflection of that first 30 minutes as Saints soldiered on despite suffering injuries to Luke Walsh, Jordan Turner and Sia Soliola, which forced Brown to put fatigued players in unfamiliar positions against their rejuvenated visitors.
"That was probably our best win of the year when you really look at it," said Brown, who was unable to put a time-scale on the trio's absence with Leeds visiting in two weeks' time.
"Catalan have a lot of wounded people that they weren't playing with, but to lose our blokes during the course of the game made it tough for us. I would have thought the scoreline would have gone a little bit more our way if we didn't have to dig through it.
"It's a good sign the boys can hang in there and push through and it's great for the spirit of the club."
St Helens broke the 40-point barrier for the first time this season and Tommy Makinson grabbed two of the seven tries, the winger's second an electric kick return which saw him stiff-arm full-back Morgan Escare to the turf before crossing.
However, during a week when Catalan head coach Laurent Frayssinous had been hauled in front of owner Bernard Guasch to explain their dismal first four fixtures, Brown admired the Dragons' never-say-die attitude.
"It"s also good to see Catalan fight back like they did," he said.
"Their coach is under a bit of pressure at the moment but I hope their chairman uses common sense.
"It wouldn't matter if Craig Bellamy or Wayne Bennett was coaching Catalan at the moment, if most of your high-paid players in key positions are watching you go through a tough time. I really hope they give Laurent a good shot at it."
Frayssinous's side have now opened with five defeats on the bounce but he was far happier with what he saw at Langtree Park compared with what he witnessed in previous defeats to Wakefield, Leeds, Castleford and Hull.
"There was definitely an improvement from the last few weeks," said Frayssinous.
"Mentally we were there tonight and physically we responded against one of the best teams in the competition. It's a good first step after a very tough week."
After a week of soul-searching, the Dragons head coach was pleased to see some pride restored too.
Asked to disclose what his midweek conversations had entailed, he said: "I said stick together, keep on working hard and we'll have better days.
"Tonight the players responded with some pride because before that they were not good enough. That's what we talked about in the week, be proud when you wear this jersey, and they showed that tonight."