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    Quote Originally Posted by Div View Post
    .. And the rest of 2019?
    Is irrelevant if we don't win the games that matter. I'm not saying I disagree with you on the format of the league but it was set out at the beginning of the season. We all know what we have to do to win it.

    Either way it wasn't a league game it was the cup. The cup you have to win about 4 games in a row which we didn't do

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    Quote Originally Posted by The frenchman View Post
    How do you explain that extra 10% they seemed to have in defence yesterday. Or was that just us completely bottling it? Looking at yesterdays result who looks the more professional now? We know the format at the start, it's up to the coaches and players to figure out how best to do that.

    I don't really understand your thoughts on the cup. You don't like it because of our opposition, you mean the people we play every week in the other competition plus some extra teams?


    Just seems to me there's a lot of excuses and comments like I don't value the cup after we've been beat. Last week it was the magic of the cup.

    No excuses at all, we didnít deserve to win and sadly saved our worst performance for when it mattered most. I donít think Warrington played that great, we just coughed up possession more than Iíve seen us do in a long time.

    Why we played so poor we can speculate on all day long, many of the reasons have already been said, ultimately it does not change a thing.



    Iím just not a huge fan of the challenge cup is all. Iíd rather win it than lose everyday of the week but I personally donít hold it in that high regard anymore.

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    People keep saying worst performance but we played worse versus Halifax. At the game we appeared to absolutely dominate Warrington for the first 20 to 25 minutes. Their try came out of the blue and instead of being a deserved 12-0 up we were 6-0 down

    After that we just lost our composure and got far too tense

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    Quote Originally Posted by parky151277 View Post
    I think yesterday was Wires season. They put everything into that and I can see the rest of their season falling on its arse. Wigan and Hull will be our main threats for the GF in my opinion.
    Good grief.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Div View Post
    Castleford were the best team the year they finished top.
    It's a crackers argument for me.
    A team can be undefeated from the season kick off but lose one game in October yet not be Champions? Nonsense for me.
    Absolutely right, and not because we lost yesterday nor because we got beat by Cats last year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rubber duckie View Post
    Good grief.
    Thatís just my opinion. Feel free to come back to this when youíve done the double as Iím sure you will anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Fridge View Post
    You're spot on Div. But the problem is, we aren't playing to the most consistent team winning.

    What we are unable to do as a club, is raise our game again or come up with a game plan in a one off crunch game. We can't do it. The last time we did do it was the 2014 Grand Final. Wellens has spoken about this & how eventually, Wigan cracked because we had an extra forward after Flower went berserk & flattened Hohaia.

    Anyway... We play the game at a hundred mph, trying to run the legs off teams. As 4 players weren't even fit, then we couldn't do it. Our approach to the real big games is flawed, whether we are the best team over a season or not. Like it or lump it but it's plain as day. For me, we need to change it.

    1. Stop using our backs to run the ball up so much. Don't know why we keep doing it. One or two tackles, maybe. That's it. That's what the forwards are for. How often do our back rowers take the ball in? I've watched the game since. Our pack weren't even in the game. There were too many anonymous performances.

    2. Win the forward battle. Play within the scrum lines. Keep it tight. Kick well. Complete sets. Be patient. Tez mentioned this in his post earlier.

    3. Start Richardson at 7. Stick Fages on the bench to give Roby a rest. Fages & Lomax won't do the job in a final. Need someone who will actually try to put some kicks in on the last tackle.

    4. Bring Bentley in. He'll get stuck in & graft.

    5. Start with Walmsley on the bench to give us a boost up front after 15-20.

    6. We end up with a week off between the end of regular rounds and the qualifiers. We've got to find a way to keep sharp in training, particularly if we win the qualifier as that's another week off. If it's a full pelt game behind closed doors, then do it.

    7. If you're not fit, you don't play. Simple as that.

    We have got to win the arm wrestle to win these big games. Percentages & discipline will win you these games. Panic rugby like we play will not. Teams know that if you complete your sets against us & keep the field narrow, we can be beaten. The ONLY way to counteract this is to bash them and bash them and bash them. Then you run straight, hard & get the most out of your forwards.
    Great post Ralph!......and I especially like the bit about 2nd rows don't do enough of the hard yards early on, this is the same in all the Saints teams currently. As a side note I thought Tommy worked hard with his returns from kicks and was then asked along with the other backs to also bring the ball away from the ptb from deep......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shady Saint View Post
    Great post Ralph!......and I especially like the bit about 2nd rows don't do enough of the hard yards early on, this is the same in all the Saints teams currently. As a side note I thought Tommy worked hard with his returns from kicks and was then asked along with the other backs to also bring the ball away from the ptb from deep......
    Tactically Saints have become similar to a Bradford type team. Whilst the side may not use 4 big props to take up the ball and rely on strength, they do burn a lot of tackles with one man back sets. Warrington defended this perfectly in the second half.
    They slowed the ruck and in the last 20, they employed a bend but don't break defense where they were less concerned with giving away yards in the early sets safe in the knowledge that they only had to defend numbers on the last couple of tackles. Holbrook is too focused on speed and fast play the balls, I was worried when I saw how successful Halifax were able to hang in against us.
    Goes without saying the coach needs to wise up for the play offs as do the players who panicked too easily at the weekend.
    Last edited by eddiewaringsflatcap; 27th August 2019 at 11:24.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Fridge View Post

    3. Start Richardson at 7. Stick Fages on the bench to give Roby a rest. Fages & Lomax won't do the job in a final. Need someone who will actually try to put some kicks in on the last tackle. .
    Ageee with pretty much everything mate bar this. I thought he created a fair bit for us, made a few breaks, scored a try, set up the Knowles no try with a nice kick, made a brilliant cover tackle as well and was involved in the move that Makinson nearly finished off in the corner. I thought there were some promising signs from him given how little pressure we built. Richardson for me would have made our problems a fair bit worse at the weekend.

    Think you’re right with the rest though. Have to keep hold of the ball for longer in big games and put the other blokes under more stress. Honestly think that if we can do that the rest will be ok.
    Last edited by Tez the Saint; 27th August 2019 at 10:59.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tez the Saint View Post
    Ageee with pretty much everything mate bar this. I thought he created a fair bit for us, made a few breaks, scored a try, set up the Knowles no try with a nice kick, made a brilliant cover tackle as well and was involved in the move that Makinson nearly finished off in the corner. I thought there were some promising signs from him given how little pressure we built. Richardson for me would have made our problems a fair bit worse at the weekend.

    Think you’re right with the rest though. Have to keep hold of the ball for longer in big games and put the other blokes under more stress. Honestly think that if we can do that the rest will be ok.
    Fages is fine and is more composed than Richardson. For the latter reason alone he must stay in the team. Silly last tackle options and the like are the last thing this team needs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Div View Post
    .. And the rest of 2019?
    It's the structure that sucks.
    Every minute matters? Worst strapline ever.
    Why don't they just change it to Late September/ Early October Matters and save us all turning up week in week out from February onwards?
    We are one home game from OT. That, together with a trophy and prize money, is why the league has mattered.



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    Kicking game was a shambles and we made our own mess on saturday. You simply have to kick well in big games and only Richardson can do that with any consistency and we have to take a risk to change games because going forward the way wire played is what everyone else will do now.
    Learned comment from The Don

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    Quote Originally Posted by FearTheVee View Post
    We are one home game from OT. That, together with a trophy and prize money, is why the league has mattered.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Alternatively we are a win and a loss away from the whole season going down the gurgler because of an end of season mini cup comp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scouse Don View Post
    Kicking game was a shambles and we made our own mess on saturday. You simply have to kick well in big games and only Richardson can do that with any consistency and we have to take a risk to change games because going forward the way wire played is what everyone else will do now.
    Well we may as well sign Matty Smith again if all we need is a kicking game,you say Richardson is consistent with his kicks but he isn't,how many last plays have we seen him run down a blind alley and not kick. We caused some havoc with our short kicking game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scouse Don View Post
    Kicking game was a shambles and we made our own mess on saturday. You simply have to kick well in big games and only Richardson can do that with any consistency and we have to take a risk to change games because going forward the way wire played is what everyone else will do now.
    You didn’t watch the play off semi final last year, did you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by brook View Post
    Well we may as well sign Matty Smith again if all we need is a kicking game,you say Richardson is consistent with his kicks but he isn't,how many last plays have we seen him run down a blind alley and not kick. We caused some havoc with our short kicking game.
    If you combine the attributes of Matty Smith, Jonny Lomax and Theo Fages you get an excellent scrum half unfortunately you want a No 7 who can fulfill the majority of those attributes. Even Lomax runs down blind alleys and Fages lacks that skilful pass, Smith is just a kicker. Richardson lacks game management under pressure but you can't do that if you inexperienced and don't play games, just look at Coote 6 weeks not playing and he looked like a novice and contributed very little.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eddiewaringsflatcap View Post
    Fages is fine and is more composed than Richardson. For the latter reason alone he must stay in the team. Silly last tackle options and the like are the last thing this team needs.
    I agree pal. Can’t help but feel that had Richardson put the performance in that Fages did at the weekend, a few of the posters who are criticising Fages would be saying that it was a good performance. In terms of a list of reasons why we didn’t win the game, Fages wouldn’t even be on it for me. He could and probably should have had a try and maybe 3 try involvements to his name had the players outside him done their jobs. I think I agree with you Brook as well mate, don’t think our kicking would be on that list either. Thought Coote was more hit and miss than anyone else but he hasn’t played in a while. For a team that made 18 mistakes and made over 100 tackles more than the opposition, I thought we did well to create some clear chances against a defence that was a lot fresher than ours was personally. But each to their own I guess.
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    I really wish Bentley played. Im not knocking Roby. 65 tackles is immense. But with Roby playing so little lately and Bentley growing in confidence we could have done worse than starting with Roby and Walmsley on the bench.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tez the Saint View Post
    I agree pal. Can’t help but feel that had Richardson put the performance in that Fages did at the weekend, a few of the posters who are criticising Fages would be saying that it was a good performance. In terms of a list of reasons why we didn’t win the game, Fages wouldn’t even be on it for me. He could and probably should have had a try and maybe 3 try involvements to his name had the players outside him done their jobs. I think I agree with you Brook as well mate, don’t think our kicking would be on that list either. Thought Coote was more hit and miss than anyone else but he hasn’t played in a while. For a team that made 18 mistakes and made over 100 tackles more than the opposition, I thought we did well to create some clear chances against a defence that was a lot fresher than ours was personally. But each to their own I guess.
    What are we not doing that is losing us tese games? Do you think we are getting 'sussed' and we need ot change tactics or would you see it more as an execution problem?

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    We donít have big game mentality. We havenít had it for a while. I was never a big fan of Nathan Brown but he got us up for that 2014 final. We kicked off to Wigan and smashed them in the opening exchanges to let them know they were in a game. We had that toughness in 2015 under Cunningham to be fair but our attacking rugby was slowly dying under his reign. In 2015 we won nothing but pushed a very good treble winning Leeds team close in 2 semi finals.
    Under Holbrook we have looked very soft in big games and have lost some important games by decent margins. Does he prepare us well throughout the week? Does he get us revved up in the pre match talk. I donít know. None of us know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddiewaringsflatcap View Post
    What are we not doing that is losing us tese games? Do you think we are getting 'sussed' and we need ot change tactics or would you see it more as an execution problem?
    I think mainly the latter mate, IMO we make too many mistakes under pressure. Within the first 25 mins v Catalan, off memory, we’d thrown the ball into touch twice, dropped it twice and had given at least one penalty away so that’s five mistakes in the first quarter or so of the game. On Saturday we made 18 errors and over 100 tackles more than the opposition. Both days were hot as well against a bigger team. So straight away you don’t give yourself to do anything tactically because for any tactic to work you need the ball. We do play some really good rugby but for that to work, ideally the defence is fatigued and for me that comes by keeping hold of the ball.

    Why that happens I suppose is harder to say. Fishy makes a decent point IMO about the mentality, I think a big problem is the players not being able to understand what the game needs. Part of that could be the lack of pressure and ‘intensity’ in the SL games, there isn’t enough riding on them and there isn’t enough quality for teams to replicate what Wire and Cats did in those two games. I think the players are surprised when things don’t go their own way and panic and lose concentration because they aren’t used to it. A lot of the time errors happen when players aren’t fully concentrating. I think that’s a factor.

    Leadership is maybe something that needs looking at as well. For me that’s something the next coach could do with addressing. Think ideally you’d have players saying “we need to do xyz” for the next 10-20 minutes. I think you can go into games with a plan but you need to adapt to the game. Not sure we have that at the minute but there’s no reason that can’t change in the future.

    In terms of how we change it, going into the play-off’s as underdogs might help us and it might bring a bit more focus to them. Difficult to change an awful lot in 3 weeks. Thought we showed at the weekend what we can do in attack, just a shame we couldn’t finish the chances off.
    Last edited by Tez the Saint; 27th August 2019 at 17:42.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scouse Don View Post
    Kicking game was a shambles and we made our own mess on saturday. You simply have to kick well in big games and only Richardson can do that with any consistency and we have to take a risk to change games because going forward the way wire played is what everyone else will do now.
    Halifax put the system in place Warrington followed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddiewaringsflatcap View Post
    What are we not doing that is losing us tese games? Do you think we are getting 'sussed' and we need ot change tactics or would you see it more as an execution problem?

    I've been thinking about this and my sense of it is this:

    In a big game like a final (or to a slightly lesser extent a semi final) teams are able to find something extra - a reserve of will power or adrenaline or whatever - that allows them to go to lengths that they just can't get to in a league game (especially in the modern format where league games don't really matter all that much). That means that a) where you would ordinarily gain yards after contact you might find yourself getting knocked over instead, and b) it just takes more/longer to wear a team down than it ordinarily would. That puts a lot of mental pressure on a team, especially one that's been having things its own way: the natural impulse is to panic because the stuff that normally works for you doesn't seem to be working. So you start trying to do things differently and suddenly you're making stuff up on the fly in the biggest game of the season against a highly motivated team, and the result is of course disjointed attack, lots of handling errors and, ultimately, defeat.

    What we need to learn is to expect things not to go our way like it usually does in the league. To be prepared for the fact that it's going to take longer than usual to lay the kind of groundwork that will allow us to play our game the way we like to, and that we're likely going to have to face spells where we are stuck in our own half for four or five sets. We need to learn that when that happens it doesn't mean that you abandon the game plan and start improvising. It means that you batten down the hatches and ride it out.

    So for me the problem isn't that we don't have a plan B, as some are fond of saying. It's that we cack our drawers and throw plan A out of the window at the first sign of big-game adversity.

    One positive thing about the weekend: we could hardly have played any worse in terms of the above, and we didn't deserve to win, but if one or two things went our way (e.g. the Knowles and Makinson incidents) we would have been within a couple of points of Wire. The side should learn from that that if they actually looked after the ball and played with patience then they shouldn't be getting beaten by anyone.
    Last edited by Dux; 27th August 2019 at 18:47.

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    Whilst I'm thoroughly in agreement that the best team should be rewarded with the Championship for finishing at the top of the league, the reality is that it is never going to happen again. The system is what it is, and therefore we must do what we have to do to win the big trophies in the formats presented to us.

    I think we can all say that it has been marvellous to watch us for the last two years, and after a decade of pretty dreadful fare, we are all extremely grateful for it. However, there comes a point when you go beyond that and seek tangible success as a reward, and a plate for the ham sandwiches doesn't really fulfil those ambitions for the club, its players and its fans.

    You look back at what I see as the best Saints side that I ever saw, and that was the one that Ian Millward had at the turn of this century. This was a team that wasn't particularly bothered about consistency, it just targeted the big games and made sure it was primed and ready to win them. How many really big games did that team lose? Yet, they'd be capable of getting turfed to an extraordinary level at times too.

    What kind of summed that team up was losing 56-22 at Warrington, winning the Cup against Bradford 13-6 the next week and then losing 74-16 at Leeds. They weren't bothered about flogging themselves for games that could be rescued further down the line, simply in winning the ones that mattered.

    A real key in that side was leadership and game management and that's something that I've flagged up on many occasions over the last two years.

    There are no real leaders in our team at the moment. Much as the masses love Lomax and Fages, as a combination, in the big game, there's something missing. Neither is the kind of player to talk to the others, guide them round the park, tell the props where to go, and generally organise the troops. They struggle for ideas on the last tackle. They look great together in games against lesser opposition, and we get by as a team because we're generally better all over the park. However, when we need to come up with that big game mentality, when the troops are a bit wary, a bit worried and a bit uncertain of themselves, we don't seem to have anybody to pick them up and inspire them onwards and upwards. Then, rather than keeping the collective chin up and just carrying on what we are doing best, we start to panic, we have doubts and then go completely to pieces. The team has a multitude of followers and no real leaders. Even James Roby just isn't a natural talker. Without a general at half back, an orchestrater and a on-field coach, we will continue to struggle when it matters.

    Back to 2000 and we had Sculthorpe, Cunningham, Martyn, Long, Joynt and an emerging Wellens. All these people were leaders, who their team mates believed would drag them out of a hole. They were all captains really.

    Without that leadership and game management, it's very likely that we'll once again come a cropper when it matters in the play-offs, and once a losing culture in big games is ingrained on the psyche of a set of players, it becomes even harder to shake off.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DD View Post
    Whilst I'm thoroughly in agreement that the best team should be rewarded with the Championship for finishing at the top of the league, the reality is that it is never going to happen again. The system is what it is, and therefore we must do what we have to do to win the big trophies in the formats presented to us.

    I think we can all say that it has been marvellous to watch us for the last two years, and after a decade of pretty dreadful fare, we are all extremely grateful for it. However, there comes a point when you go beyond that and seek tangible success as a reward, and a plate for the ham sandwiches doesn't really fulfil those ambitions for the club, its players and its fans.

    You look back at what I see as the best Saints side that I ever saw, and that was the one that Ian Millward had at the turn of this century. This was a team that wasn't particularly bothered about consistency, it just targeted the big games and made sure it was primed and ready to win them. How many really big games did that team lose? Yet, they'd be capable of getting turfed to an extraordinary level at times too.

    What kind of summed that team up was losing 56-22 at Warrington, winning the Cup against Bradford 13-6 the next week and then losing 74-16 at Leeds. They weren't bothered about flogging themselves for games that could be rescued further down the line, simply in winning the ones that mattered.

    A real key in that side was leadership and game management and that's something that I've flagged up on many occasions over the last two years.

    There are no real leaders in our team at the moment. Much as the masses love Lomax and Fages, as a combination, in the big game, there's something missing. Neither is the kind of player to talk to the others, guide them round the park, tell the props where to go, and generally organise the troops. They struggle for ideas on the last tackle. They look great together in games against lesser opposition, and we get by as a team because we're generally better all over the park. However, when we need to come up with that big game mentality, when the troops are a bit wary, a bit worried and a bit uncertain of themselves, we don't seem to have anybody to pick them up and inspire them onwards and upwards. Then, rather than keeping the collective chin up and just carrying on what we are doing best, we start to panic, we have doubts and then go completely to pieces. The team has a multitude of followers and no real leaders. Even James Roby just isn't a natural talker. Without a general at half back, an orchestrater and a on-field coach, we will continue to struggle when it matters.

    Back to 2000 and we had Sculthorpe, Cunningham, Martyn, Long, Joynt and an emerging Wellens. All these people were leaders, who their team mates believed would drag them out of a hole. They were all captains really.

    Without that leadership and game management, it's very likely that we'll once again come a cropper when it matters in the play-offs, and once a losing culture in big games is ingrained on the psyche of a set of players, it becomes even harder to shake off.
    All those leaders played at Murrayfield in 2002 and we still lost.

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