Jon Wilkin: St Helens ability to 'ad-lib' key to winning run

Forward Jon Wilkin says St Helens' ability to improvise under pressure was key to maintaining their unbeaten start to the season.

Paul Wellens finished a remarkable cross-field move to help Saints fight back and beat fellow high-flyers Castleford Tigers last week.

"We were desperate at that point to get back into the game," Wilkin told BBC's Super League Show.

"When you need to play ad-lib, you play ad-lib and we certainly did."

The England international continued: "Really, the structure of your team goes out the window - you are looking to keep the ball alive.

"The most pleasing thing was not the physical side or the skill we showed, it was the attitude to never give up and the amount of people pushing and working for each other, which was ultimately finished off by Paul Wellens, who has been an inspiration."

Real contenders decided over Easter

The try marked a milestone occasion for 34-year-old Wellens, who set a new Super League appearance record in his 414th top-flight game, and scored his 1,000th career point in the process.

Wilkin also admits that Jordan Turner did appear to knock the ball on in the build up to the try, but said the call was for the touch judge to make on the night.

"It is probably a knock-on looking at it now," admitted Wilkin. "There is a touch judge who is four or five metres away from that - I don't believe the ref can give that as a knock-on from where he is stood.

"He may well have needed someone to tip him off that there was a knock-on there."

Victory came at a cost, however, as forwards Willie Manu (fractured thumb) and Anthony Laffranchi (arm) suffered injuries that will keep them out of Friday's local derby with Wigan.

Tonga international Manu could be out for up to eight weeks.

Meanwhile, Leeds Rhinos prop and eight-time Super League winner Jamie Peacock said Castleford proved that they should be taken seriously as title contenders with their performance, but believes their defence will leave them vulnerable.

"I think Cas are the real deal this year, but when you are 24-6 up you need to close the game," said Peacock.

"That is a skill you pick up during the season, and as the team gels and gets better together they pick up that skill."