|St Helens (6) 28|
|Tries: Walmsley, Fages, Naiqama, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Grace Goals: Coote 4|
|Salford (0) 0|
Super League champions St Helens scored five tries and kept out Salford in a comfortable victory, as they marked the return of supporters to the Totally Wicked Stadium in style.
In front of 4,000 fans, Alex Walmsley’s opener gave Saints a 6-0 interval lead.
Theo Fages, Kevin Naiqama, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Regan Grace then all crossed as Saints turned on a second-half supershow.
Saints stay level on points with Wigan who also notched a sixth straight win.
Both sides have made 100% winning starts to the delayed 2021 campaign.
Monday night’s game was part of the first set of five rugby league fixtures to welcome fans since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Six months on from their Grand Final win over Wigan, those socially-distanced Saints season-ticket holders lucky enough to be allowed in got a first sight since of the Super League trophy, when injured winger Tommy Makinson performed a solo parade before kick-off.
But, while Saints were a bit slow to get out of the blocks, and did not really open up until the second half, the champions’ defence proved solid as they delivered their second clean sheet of the season.
Scrum-half Fages was the key man as Saints completed the double over Salford following their opening-day win over former Saints assistant coach Richard Marshall’s Red Devils.
Salford, who lost hooker Andy Ackers with a head injury after just two minutes, sit 10th in the table with one victory from their first six matches – just two points clear of the bottom two, winless Wakefield and Leigh.
St Helens coach Kristian Woolf:
“Having the fans back was outstanding. Hearing the reception when the players ran out for their warm-up and seeing all the smiles on their faces made the hairs stand up on your back.
“Also the terraces singing the songs – to actually hear it and feel it reminds us of how much we missed it.
“It was great seeing people walk across the bridge and into the ground and it was great that we could put a good performance on for them.
“We defended terrifically. We made it hard for them to get out of their end and it was a great try from Theo that put us on the front foot for the second half.”
Salford coach Richard Marshall:
“We did a real good job in the first half. We had a lot of momentum and field position, but in the second half we just got blown away.
“We couldn’t compete with the speed and accuracy of St Helens. They will do that to a lot of teams.
“They played the field position really well and strangled us. They’re a very hard team to defend against and obviously our attack wasn’t on today.
“Kristian has just presented me with a ring from the Grand Final which is a really nice touch by the club, but I would swap it for a win right now.”
St Helens: Coote; Naiqama, Percival, Welsby, Grace; Lomax, Fages; Walmsley, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Thompson, Mata’utia, Knowles.
Interchange: Amor, Pa’asi, Smith, Batchelor.
Salford: Sarginson; Sio, Watkins, Costello, Williams; Lolohea, Brown; Mossop, Ackers, Burke, Greenwood, Lannon, Taylor.
Interchange: Pauli, Atkin, Ikahihifo, Ormondroyd.
Referee: Liam Moore (RFL).