Month: July 2019
SAINTS Chairman, Eamonn McManus, wrote in the Manchester Evening News this week:Super League has entered an exciting new season in the best financial shape in its history. A well delivered and profitable World Cup has been followed with significant central sponsorships and a vastly improved long-term TV deal which pretty much ensures the solvency and competitiveness of all participating clubs for years to come – progress indeed.These major financial strides forward were complemented by a well-reasoned RFL policy review on long-term player investment. This recommended, firstly and critically, improved investment in club academies to be underpinned by a recommended salary cap exemption above a certain threshold for elite club-trained players. This necessarily encourages and incentivises club investment in our own British lads and, equally importantly, enables the future equivalents of Sam Tompkins, Sam Burgess and James Graham to be kept within Super League if clubs are able and prepared to spend this proposed exemption. A second stage of the proposal was adopt a more broadly based “marquee player” salary cap exemption – effectively aimed at recruiting the best talent from the already very well funded Australian NRL. In my opinion the first element of the policy review is a current and critical necessity; however, the second element is presently an unnecessary and impractical inflationary luxury which can only seriously be considered when we are able first to retain our own best British talent.I was therefore more than concerned when Super League clubs last week proposed to adopt only the marquee exemption but shelved the academy investment and home grown exemption proposals. It is the absolute reverse of what it should be. Sanity prevailed and the proposal was voted down. However, worryingly, the home-grown exemption was not even discussed; this must be re-tabled and adopted, and soonest.Super League now faces a very similar strategic challenge from the NRL and from rugby union as the Bundesliga faced from the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga some years ago. They decided to retrench and prioritise invest in their own front yard. Bayern is now the club of choice for the world’s best players and managers, and Germany is again a favourite for the soccer World Cup. I am an unashamed English patriot and a proud rugby league fan. Our own national rugby league team and club sides can only ever achieve this same objective if we follow that most sensible of models, and we are now strongly positioned so to do.That said, St.Helens have excitingly been able to recruit two stars of the NRL for this season. Luke Walsh was voted in the top six NRL players in last year’s prestigious Dally M Awards and has already proven a major new attraction for Super League. Big Mose Mosoe is potentially one of the most destructive impact props in world rugby league and is due to be unveiled in our home game this week – lots to get very excited about and even without salary cap dispensations I’m glad to report!
SAINTS U19s continued their unbeaten start to the season with a hard fought win 32-6 in testing conditions in Wakefield on Saturday, writes Graham Henthorne.The foundations for the win were laid in the first half where due to some fabulous last tackle kicking options the Saints kept the home side pinned in the own half for much of the first period and getting repeat set after repeat set.Unfortunately one stray pass and defensive tackle led to the Wildcats taking the lead against the run of play running the ball in from halfway.Unfazed the Saints continued their policy of playing the game in the Wildcats 40 metre area and turning the screw.The policy came good on 20 minutes as Lewis Charnock scored to bring the Saints level. A great drive from Liam Cooper saw him stopped short but from the play the ball Charnock took two over by the posts.Five minutes later and the Wildcats were broken again as André Savelio sent more bodies sprawling on his blockbusting 40 metre drive but the ball was dropped at the play the ball and the Saints had to settle for a share of the points at the break.The punishing runs of the Saints big men Joe Ryan, Luke Thompson, Ross McCauley and Savelio allied to the intelligent kicking of Dave Hewitt, Danny Richardson and Charnock had meant countless turnovers for the Saints and seven more sets in possession than their hosts.This was bound to have a sapping effect on the energy levels of the Wildcats in the second period and the coaching staff called for more of the same and patience to wait until the Wildcats collapsed.The Saints got the dream start as big Ross McCauley got a deserved try as he plunged over after good work from Joe Ryan in yet another repeat set.Then came the patience as the home side again demonstrated their dogged defensive attributes keeping the Saints at bay until the hour mark.Inevitably, it seemed today, it was Charnock who dealt the killer blow breaking through the line after his own kick got a repeat set.Charnock and McCauley then set up the position for Matty Fleming to run an angle and put Dan Abram over in the corner.The Saints were in full flow then graphically illustrated as Morgan Knowles on his debut sprinted 50 metres to trap the full back in goal and gain the Saints more possession. Three tackles later and the human wrecking ball that is André Savelio ploughed his way over.The final nail was hammered in by Aaron Smith who, after five drives from the pack had walked the Saints downfield, spotted the gap out wide on the last and darted over in the corner from 10 metres out.Whilst there is still much to work on for the bigger tasks ahead this was a good performance built on the back of a commanding kicking game and big hitting defence which gave the opposition nowhere to go.Luke Thompson led the way before his withdrawal at half time and was backed up by solid displays from Liam Cooper and stand in prop Matty Fozard.Match Summary:Wakefield U19s:Tries: Jacob Ware.Goals: Max Jowitt.Saints U19s:Tries: Lewis Charnock 2, Aaron Smith, Ross McAuley, Dan Abram, André Savelio.Goals: Lewis Charnock 4.Half Time: 6-6 Full Time: 32-6Teams:Wakefield U19s:1. Max Jowitt; 2. Brandon Conway, 3. Kieran Holt, 4. Jacob Ware, 5. Declan Brereton; 6. Tom McGrattan, 7. Scott Lee; 8. Jack Teamby, 9. Brad Moles, 10. Fraser Morris, 11. Jordan Crowther, 12. Jack Walton, 13. Korbin Kildare. Subs: 14. Ben Cornell, 15. Callum Sampson, 16. Cam Leeming, 17. Danny Douglas.Saints U19s:1. Dan Abram; 2. David Eccleston, 4. Matty Fleming, 3. Jake Spedding, 5. Jordan Tisdale; 6. Danny Richardson, 7. Dave Hewitt; 8. Joe Ryan, 9. Matty Fozard, 15. Luke Thompson, 11. Liam Cooper, 12. Jack Ashworth, 13. Lewis Charnock. Subs: 14. Aaron Smith. 17. Ross McCauley, 18. Morgan Knowles, 20. André Savelio.
Saints face Wigan on Thursday (8pm) at the Totally Wicked Stadium looking to secure only their second ‘back-to-back’ victory of the season.“I got here at a good time!” he said. “I was fortunate enough to get here in time for the Magic Weekend and I said after the game what a great concept I thought that was. It was a great weekend and then I roll into a local derby.“It is huge for both Saints and Wigan and I’m sure it will be a good game. They have got a good football team and Shaun (Wane) must be a good coach to have them firing the way they have. It’s well documented how many players they have out and that is probably why they are sitting where they are.“But this club wasn’t happy with where they were sitting and that’s why I am here. They expect to be near the top as they are a proud, successful club. We are working hard to climb up the ladder.“It has been easier to come into training after a win on Saturday. It is always more enjoyable after you have won. As the next couple of days roll around, we will get down to it because we know we are in for a tough game.“We came through ok. Jonny Lomax is one we would love to have back but I’m not sure if he will be able to make it on time. If he does it would be a great addition. If he runs out of time then I am happy with who we have got and how we ran at the weekend.“We did our review today and saw some areas we could improve in. The players bought into it and it gives me more reason to hope that the players can play better.”Justin says he hasn’t set any targets for the squad this season in terms of league position, focusing on improvement and performances in the first instance.“People say it is a cliché to take it week by week but being a new coach at the club it is the only choice,” he continued. “I have to try and change things a little bit and make sure we are in a better position as a team and a club.“If we play well; play like we did on Saturday then we will be in a good position. That is the challenge and we have to make sure we keep aiming up. Then we can string some wins together.”You can read more of Justin’s interview in this week’s programme, which is available on matchnight and priced at £3.Tickets for Thursday’s game remain on sale from the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium, by calling 01744 455 052 and online here.