THE CONTRAST is the sides’ form is startling, but St Helens coach Justin Holbrook is wary ahead of tonight’s game at Leeds Rhinos.
Saints are six points clear at the top of Betfred Super League and have won 15 of their 17 games so far.
They boast the competition’s best attack – with 558 points scored – and have conceded only 242, fewer than any of their rivals.
The competition’s leading two try scorers – Ben Barba with 19 and Mark Percival on 15 – are Saints players and team-mate Ryan Morgan is equal fifth with 10 touchdowns.
Danny Richardson tops Super League’s charts for goals (80) and points (174) and Saints are unbeaten in any competition since a defeat at Wakefield Trinity two months ago today.
At the other end of the scale, Rhinos have lost their last four league matches and won only three from 11 since a shock victory at Saints in March.
They have slipped to seventh in the table and are in danger of being dragged into the bottom-four for the second time in three seasons.
Despite all that, Holbrook has not beaten Rhinos in three attempts as Saints boss and insists tonight is a dangerous fixture for his side.
He said: “Obviously Leeds have been inconsistent this year and they won’t be happy with where they sit.
“But every time we play them I look at the games beforehand – and then they play so much better against us.”
Leeds’ 28-20 victory in March ended Saints’ winning start to the campaign and Holbrook reckons that was a warning.
Then, as now, Rhinos fielded an under-strength side due to injury, but Holbrook pointed out: “They do a good job on us so we have to plan for them to be at their absolute best.
“Anything less is a bonus for us.”