Scully’s Column: The Saints’ Emphasis on Restoring Unforgiving Standards
IT were back on their way to victory at Totally Wicked Stadium as St Helens beat Castleford 20-12 on Sunday.
The current league leaders had a point to prove after a humiliating 44-12 loss to Salford last weekend – Kristian Woolf’s heaviest defeat as Saints boss.
It was by no means a perfect performance, and certainly a two-half game.
The champions entered half-time 12-0, before a second-half Tommy Makinson penalty and an extended Joe Batchelor converted try that led 20-0.
However, like many times in previous weeks, there were lapses in focus, which led to poor ball control and gaps in our defensive line, allowing the Tigers to get back into the game.
Take nothing away from Cas, who enjoyed a few smart plays, including some smart kicks from former Saints player Danny Richardson, to put them in position to score points.
Three late, unconverted tries from Tigers right winger Bureta Faraimo certainly made the game more respectable for the visitors, and no doubt gave the Saints side a kick in the back that you wouldn’t. can’t turn off in matches, especially for the all-important last month of the season.
Positives from Sunday’s win include the return of the aforementioned Tommy Makinson, who I thought had his usual all-action performance.
Plus, it was a big game from back rower Curtis Sironen, who opened the scoring with one of his typical barnstorming runs. He certainly puts his body on the line in games and doesn’t shy away from the physical stuff – but sadly it looks like the laws of the game have cost him yet another two-week ban on the sidelines for a high tackle that he was sin-dropped in the 71st minute.
So, after some lackluster performances, Saints must now travel to the MKM Stadium to take on Hull FC on Sunday.
Honestly, the Black and Whites have been terrible this year, winning only 10 of their 22 matches so far. They have lost seven of their last nine, beating just two teams below them in the Betfred Super League – neighbors Hull KR and Toulouse.
Despite the hosts’ poor form, the Saints must focus on returning to those ruthless standards. Quality skills, attacking and aggressive achievements, and smart defense are essential. They do that, they win the game – end.
Title sponsors Betfred of course until the three-round champions were clear favourites, at 11/10, to make it four in a row in the Grand Final at Old Trafford on September 24.
Wigan, who are second favorites at 9/4, enter this weekend’s fixtures against 11th-placed Wakefield following a 32-6 draw against relegation-threatened Warrington.
I can’t figure out what’s going on at Halliwell Jones.
For a club that is supposed to be tough on silverware and has spent the money it has over the past decade, you could never imagine it in the current situation.
And things could get worse!
On Thursday they will face bottom side Toulouse, who are only four points behind Wolves, and I have absolutely no doubt that the French side will be keen on their chances.
All the pressure is on Darryl Powell and his team – and it’s time for some of these well-paid players to earn their money.
Finally, it was devastating to hear the news that Regan Grace had ruptured her Achilles tendon, an injury I know all too well!
Barely back from a setback, this last blow signals not only the end of his season but also his career with the Saints following his recent decision to change codes to join the French giants of Racing 92.
Regan has been in devastating form over the past few years, earning himself the starting number five jersey and scoring some spectacular tries along the way.
I wish Regan all the best for her rehab and her new career path.
One guy who is certainly doing everything he can to snatch that available wing spot is youngster Jon Bennison.
I think Jon has had an outstanding first season so far, and if he continues to work hard and offer himself in games like he does, how can anyone deny it!