Lee Gaskell and Jonny Lomax catch the eye in Saints win
Young St Helens half-backs Lee Gaskell and Jonny Lomax have been singled out for praise for the part they played in Sunday's play-off derby win over Wigan.
"On a day like Sunday when it's high pressure, they've come up with the right plays at the right times," said joint skipper Paul Wellens after Saints' 26-18 win at the DW Stadium.
"Lee Gaskell and Jonny Lomax have really come together this year.
"They've shown maturity beyond their years," he told BBC Radio Merseyside.
Gaskell, 20, has run in 10 tries in 25 Super League appearances, while fellow academy product Lomax, 21, who has played one game less, has crossed the whitewash seven times.
Their success is further proof of the flourishing Saints youth system, run by Mike Rush, which saw the club field 17 English players, 15 of them academy products, in their last league game of the regular season against Harlequins a week earlier.
After having gone five derby games without a win against their closest rivals, Saints' timely victory on enemy soil has now earned them a weekend off as they go straight into the semi-finals, when they could yet find themselves facing Wigan again - for a sixth time this season.
Wigan's next test is a home preliminary semi-final this Sunday against Catalan Dragons, who have already won once at the DW Stadium this season.
But, if Wigan come through that, and Warrington choose the winners of the other preliminary semi-final between Leeds and Huddersfield as their Clubcall opponents, then that would set up another Saints-Wigan clash the following weekend.
And Wellens, just one match away from a ninth Grand Final appearance for Saints at the age of 31, is pleased simply that they have an extra week's preparation.
"The chance to rest and recuperate is massive for us," said Wellens. "But we're not going to take our foot off the gas with our training.
"We know we have to be intense with our training. We have to perform well in the week.
"But to not have another 80 minutes is valuable. For us watching the other sides battle it out is a lot better for us."