Barba injury threatens to overshadow Saints' rout of Salford
Ben Barba scored three of St Helens' 11 tries but was carried from the field with a serious-looking injury in the Super League leaders' 60-10 demolition of Salford Red Devils.
The Australian was one of many classy operators for Saints at the AJ Bell Stadium on Thursday, but there were concerning scenes inside the final 10 minutes when he was taken off on a stretcher with his neck in a brace.
Barba, falling forward in trying to offload to Regan Grace, landed awkwardly and immediately felt for his left shoulder. While lying prone he appeared able to move his arms and, following a long delay, was carried down the tunnel.
This hammering was all the more remarkable given Saints played more than 40 minutes a man light following Matty Lees' red card for a forearm to the head of Niall Evalds.
Justin Holbrook's side were already 28-6 to the good by that stage through Tommy Makinson, Dominique Peyroux, Ryan Morgan and two from Barba, while Salford's solitary response had come via Tyrone McCarthy.
After Lees' red, there was still time for Grace to go over and make it 32-6 at the half, and the one-way traffic continued in the second period as Grace and Mark Percival crossed before Barba completed his hat-trick.
Barba's injury meant further scores from Theo Fages and Morgan, before Kris Welham's try for Salford with the last action, were scarcely a factor.