Month: July 2019
SAINTS know a win this Friday at Huddersfield would see the League Leaders Shield back in their trophy cabinet for the first time since 2008.But more importantly, it would give them a solid foundation as they prepare for the playoffs.It’s not been an easy year for Saints, especially in terms of injuries to key personnel, but the facts are clear – one more point would see them top the table.A superb achievement.“Winning the Shield would be good for the playing group, the fans and the club moving forward,” Head Coach Nathan Brown said. “When I came to St Helens I was brought here for a reason.“We had a lot of older players and had to restructure. This is the first year of St Helens becoming younger and moving into a new era. They will grow over the next few years and the League Leaders Shield would be a good start to what could be a good era over the next five or so years.“All successful sides have a starting point and hopefully this will be a starting point for this group of players.”Saints head into the match at the John Smith’s Stadium having to again restructure following the loss of another key player.Fullback Shannon McDonnell will miss the next six weeks with a broken jaw which thankfully doesn’t need surgery whilst a decision on the fitness of Alex Walmsley will be taken today (Thursday).“Shannon has been really unfortunate and I feel for him,” Brown continued. “He did the injury making a tackle in the first minute and there seemed to be nothing in it. But, injuries like that are part and parcel of the game and we all know how tough it is. Bodies have got bigger, collisions more frequent and as a result injuries like that can happen.“We’ll see how Alex Walmsley fairs this week but we think whatever injury he has will be short term. If we have to move someone to bring someone else in we will do. We feel there are one or two combinations that could do well for us.“Generally after a defeat we have responded well. After the loss in Hull we played some good entertaining football to beat Wakefield and at Leeds we hung on in there, defended like our lives depended on it and our pressure told at the end.“Those wins were big for us and we’ve had some good wins on the road too. We have beaten Leeds, Wigan and Warrington on their own patches.“Huddersfield will present a different challenge to Warrington but it will all come down to the attitude and commitment of the players. Forwards win matches; the outside backs decide by how much.“Both teams have a lot to play for and therefore the intensity and commitment from both will be big.“Huddersfield have been high on ladder for a long period and have maintained that consistency by having a consistent team. We beat them in the Cup and had a good win at Langtree Park and although this match comes under different circumstances I think it will be a high quality game too.”Tickets for the game remain on sale from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.
KEIRON Cunningham was understandably gutted following his side’s semi final defeat at Leeds on Friday.“All year I have been proud of what these boys have done; through all the adversity and injuries we have had they have kept on fighting,” he said. “It’s easy in hindsight but I genuinely believe we were the best side for large parts of the game tonight.“Kevin Sinfield is a great player and he showed that with the 40:20. That was a massive momentum swing as we had control of the game and I thought we would pull away. We had a really good defensive set and then he did what he did.“The momentum was with us and we were gaining more control of the game. The halves were dictating things, Jon Wilkin was good and Kyle Amor was the best player on the pitch by far.“But that’s how things go.“It never is a good thing when you lose a winger but we have players who can move into the centres and I thought Mark Percival did a great job on the wing. But it meant we lost a sub and I couldn’t rotate Mose Masoe and Alex Walmsley like I would have wanted to.“We can’t have any complaints though. We have learnt a lot this year but unfortunately we have not finished on the terms we would have liked to.”He continued: “It was a game worthy of the Old Trafford stage. The system has been brought in to create games like that. It would have been good to be a neutral – it was a great game of rugby.“I am proud of the players with how they have handled things. We’ve had people playing out of position for me all year, it’s just a shame we couldn’t end on a high. We’ve been the bridesmaid twice this year – let’s be the bride next year.“It is difficult to win the Challenge Cup, back up and win the Shield and then get into the Final – it is testament to Leeds because they have done the unthinkable. They have a good shot at it now but Wigan are a good side too and it I’m sure it will be another slug fest like tonight.“All credit to them for doing it – I’m pleased for Brian Mc and the likes of JP, Kylie and Kevin – they are legends of the game.”