Walmsley demands defensive improvements from Saints

St Helens forward Alex Walmsley has warned Wakefield they will come up against a stern wall of red vs when they travel to the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday.

Kieron Cunningham’s side was left reeling after a 24-16 defeat at the hands of Leigh Centurions last week in what was an off-day for Saints’ defence.

Since last July, Saints’ defence has improved drastically, conceding fewer points than anyone else in that period.

However, after conceding three tries in 22 minutes last week, the former Man of Steel contender is adamant Saints will be back to their defensive best against Trinity, who are winless at the start of the campaign.

“We’ve all been stinging this week,” he said.

“We started this year talking about how we’ll defend our way to trophies, and we didn’t do that against Leigh.

“We were unhappy with our performance, it was unacceptable how we started that game. We’ve earmarked the Wakefield game as a chance to set a few wrongs right.

“Defensively we want to be on point.

“Before the start of the year, we set ourselves a goal. They’re very similar each year, to win trophies and Grand Finals. To get there, we need to defend well. Defensively we have set a high goal and we need to reach those goals week on week.

“We’ll let our attack sort itself out, we know we’ll score points. Wakefield can prepare for this game as they like, but we’re stinging and we’re ready to end that.”

Following an underwhelming start to the 2016 campaign, Walmsley and co have put emphasis on winning games regularly to avoid having to play catch-up at the end of the year to make the play-offs.

“Your opening few months are all about picking up the points and making sure you’re among the top pack.

“We left it late to crawl ourselves back last year.

“We had a blip in the middle of the year and we can’t afford that this year. Super League is too good now to have a late rally and make the play-offs.

“Look how Castleford have gone this year so far, Catalans look strong again, Hull look like the same team as last year. There’s no more certainty that St Helens will be in that top four.

“It’s tough all year and we’ve got to earn that right. We can’t find ourselves six or eight points behind the top four midway through the year and expect to find ourselves in the play-offs by the end of the year.”