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Half way point predictions...


never offline
6 July 2015
Well we're 13 games in with 14 to go and with us having a little break it seems a good chance to reflect on where we are at.

The positives:

1. League Position
2. Recent performances have been better
3. Defence has been good bar two games

The negatives:

1. Out the cup early in horrible fashion.
2. Beaten comfortably by Wire, KR and lost to Catalan.
3. Still got Wigan & Wire x 2 remaining.

What does everyone think the rest of the year holds?

I think we're in good spot for top 2 as it stands but with some trickier games left (Wigan x 2, Wire x 2 and Leigh A x 2) in the last 14 it's finely balanced. I imagine 10-11 wins may be needed for top 2 and would give us a good shot at 1st.

So, what's everyone feeling going into the second half? Do you think we will make top 2 (current 2 point gap to 2rd and 4th).

I think top 2 means we would likely make OT. Without it I don't think we do so it's finely balance.

If you had to score the season out of 10 at this point what would you give it?

6.5/10 for me. Can't grumble at being top but losing to Wire in the manner we did was very disappointing as was KR. Not sure if that's harsh....

What do you think?
I think we will get top 2, but with Catalans unlikely to get top 2 I don’t think it matters as much as last year. I think going away to France in the semi is always the one game you really don’t want, and I always had a feeling we’d lose if we had to do it last year. We can lose other games of course, but I’d back us to win pretty much any game other than that one. Like if we finish 3rd this year and have to go away to Warrington, I’d be fairly happy with that. I can’t see us finishing below 3rd, but I can’t see us pipping Wigan to 1st either considering almost all of their remaining games are at home.

I think a 6 or a 6.5/10 for so far is fair. The wire game in the cup was awful and for the biggest game of the year, it was easily our worst performance and left me feeling pretty low as it’s been a long time since I’ve seen us just get taken apart like us. The lack of desire in such a big game was and is worrying. That said the last few weeks have been really encouraging and the fact that Wellens has been willing to try and get us attacking so much means I’m not as down about him and us as I have been. I think we’re looking pretty good atm and think we will get better if we stick at it.
I'm more optimistic that I was a month ago..

Once again we're doing it tough with a glut of injuries, but we seem to be getting better with the ball in hand. I know on Friday we coughed up a fair bit of ball, but a lot of that was bad luck (like Busquet struggling to get into position so he was handily placed to pick up a few 'interceptions').

The flip side is, we're having to flog players like Lees, Mata'utia, Sironen, Delaney much more than ideal (the couple of weekends off are, as some have said, a blessing in disguise) to cover for the injuries. Hope that doesn't come back to bite us later in the year.

Speaking of injuries, neither the scum nor Warrington have had anything like the level of injuries that us or Catalans have. Hopefully things level themselves out on that score (ideally at the business end of the season!)
I think the last month seems to have seen a turning point.

I have long said that the reason Wellens isnt like Cunningham is that he has shown a willingness to learn and adapt to the situation (as opposed to doubling down on his own tactics regardless of what the sheep say) and its clear that the Castleford game has marked a change in approach from the coaching staff, which is giving me hope.

I don't fear Wigan, the club know how to play Wigan, and in a tight game I would back us to best them 9 times out of 10. I think Saints risk comes from the category of teams below, in the Warringtons, HKRs, Catalans etc who on an individual given game day may play it more seriously than Saints do, and we dont have the edge we did a couple of years ago to endure that.

Top 2 has to be the aim, and unusually I would push for top if its a chance as I think it may be psychologically important this year. Wigan and Warrington picking up a few injuries would be helpful at some point, but ultimately whoevers on the pitch we can best with the right mindset.
Although we are top of the league we have not been under the spot light as previous years. Most clubs and the social media (SKY etc) have dismissed the fact that we will have played quite a few games with half a pack.

Our attacking shapes and options are very much a "Work in Progress", I feel a significant part of that improvement has been how Blake is growing into the team and the fact that Mybe can play in the halves.

Our outstanding players have been Matautia and Clark to hold that weakened pack together, the bonus being Stephens who has now become a 21 man squad player.

I would say it's a 3 horse race for the top 2, barring anymore injuries and our pack goes stronger we could be in a good position to beat Wigan and Warrington at least once in the remaining fixtures. That bonus of Stephens developing and Passi returning with no ill effects makes the absence of Walmsley very managable.

For the coaching team they need to keep an eye on the accrual of points difference a continued improvement will put pressure on Wigan and Warrington who have not had a lot of dissruption with injuries and suspensions. For Wello he looks a bit more on edge and feeling a bit of pressure because we,ve not been given a 60-80 min performance yet, composure and errors still need improvement which are areas he needs to nail down.
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I said a few weeks back that we hadn't got out of 2nd gear but were still sat top of the league and a few people questioned what i meant by this and that they didn't see us as having any gears to go through. However, this group of players were always better than the first 7/8 games shown (even when winning), particularly with ball in hand but rightly so came in for critiscm as performance were not up to standard.

We have since seen a good uplift in performance, particularly with ball in hand and the defence has got back to the standard we have come to expect over recent times so i do think there a lot of positives at this point, but still with plenty of improvement in us too. At this point in a season, you don't need to be at your best, it's important to build as the season goes on and i feel as thought that is what is starting to happen.

Lot of injuries at the minute too, so another positive is how we have coped with them. Also, should see some players come back later in the season having not played too much rugby and hopefully freshen us up a bit going into the playoffs.

Wellens has took quite a bit of stick at times this season, so i think it is only fair he deserves a bit of credit having turned things around over recent weeks. Obviously a long way to go but definite signs of improvement.
I think a lot depends on our next 6 games. We have London (A), Salford (A), Cas (H), Wigan (A), Warrington (H), Leigh (A). While I would expect comfortable wins against London and Cas, our injury list makes the other 4 a bit of a lottery. If we make it through these 6 games still in touch at the top then we’re in a very strong position.

My worry with this team is whether we have the ability to break down teams with fired up defences in the big matches when we can’t dominate the arm wrestle. It’s cost us in all Wellens’ big games for us so far (exc, WCC) and I’m not sure what’s likely to change with a distinct lack of pace and flair throughout the side. I could see us getting the league leaders shield this year but losing when it really matters.
Happy with where we are right now. I don't think we should fear anyone really. The Pies were pretty awful against Wire, but to be fair the officials actually initiated the rules regarding the Crust Munchers and when that happens (it's usually the last day in February in a leap year) and they don't get the infamous "rub of the green" they actually are placed in to a contest! Their awful indiscipline and lying on which they normally are allowed to get away with was rightly punished and I think with another fifteen on the clock Wire would've won. Peet was pretty honest re the indiscipline but having said that, they play like that every game and he's the coach, so who's kidding who Matty?
Wire look good but I still feel there's a sense of fragility that will only be exposed when they have some negative experiences such as bad injuries to key players or a shock defeat or two, that will be the test for them and Burgess.
Catalans look a busted flush to me, but I've been wrong about them before! Brutal, grubby and uncompromising, Leigh on steroids!
The rest are as always, the rest.
We're in a good place with exciting youngsters proving themselves and Wellos style now emerging from the transition of both players and Woolfball. All looks good to me. COYS
I think a lot is down to injuries. We are just on the edge at the moment in terms of our squad.

For me 2001 was the best Saints team I have ever seen. Better than 1996/2006/2019 but the season was ruined by and injury crisis so no one remembers how good that team was.

I would give us 7/10 so far. Doing well but still a lot of work to do. As always the team will be judged by one or two games in October.
I think we will finish in the top 3. I think Warrington and Wigan are better than us.

Our defence is still, usually, top notch. Our attack is improving but we still obviously lack speed and I’m not sure we can score many against the other top teams.

We are bringing a few young players through now too.

I’m more optimistic but I think we are a bit away from being confident of winning anything this year. If we beat hull KR, Wigan and Warrington at least once and win comfortably against the bottom six it’ll be a sign of very good progress.

Overall, we still need to transform the backs and that’s not changed. I would like to see at least one speedster come into the first choice backs, either home grown or bought in.
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I think a lot depends on our next 6 games. We have London (A), Salford (A), Cas (H), Wigan (A), Warrington (H), Leigh (A). While I would expect comfortable wins against London and Cas, our injury list makes the other 4 a bit of a lottery. If we make it through these 6 games still in touch at the top then we’re in a very strong position.

My worry with this team is whether we have the ability to break down teams with fired up defences in the big matches when we can’t dominate the arm wrestle. It’s cost us in all Wellens’ big games for us so far (exc, WCC) and I’m not sure what’s likely to change with a distinct lack of pace and flair throughout the side. I could see us getting the league leaders shield this year but losing when it really matters.
Yes, well said
I think we are certain of top 3 but could end up in any of those positions. Injuries will have a bearing, whether it’s us getting players back, or losing more and, any injury concerns in Wigan and Wire. If they happened to lose Williams and Dufty or French and Field I would take us to finish above either of them. A lot will depend on how much this period of being low on numbers takes out of us, and how well we utilise the squad.
Marks out of 10 I’d give them 7.
If we are able to pick from a full squad & pies & wire get similar injuries to ours we have a great chance of finishing top. A big IF I know.
Look at our squad if selecting from full strength then I think 2 of Bell, Bachelor & Whitley are missing out for me
Our defence remains solid. Our attack is improving, and our energy and speed of movement in attack is creating more chances. Players are backing up better than at the start of the season, expecting offloads. With Clarke exploding out of dummy half, and now with Noah Stephens and Iggy breaking the line, our support play gives me confidence that we are becoming a more potent attacking force.
The injuries we have concerned me but watching our pack against Catalan, especially with Delaney coming of age. I feel a lot more optimistic than I did four weeks ago.
I still think we will finish in the top two. We are top atm, and are only just starting to hit our straps. Warrington, I believe, are playing at their max, and I expect the wheels to come off at some point. Wigan are not looking like the all-conquering side that some were expecting. If we can avoid too many more injuries I think we have a realistic chance of going all the way.
Delaney and Stephens are a big plus, as is the options that MBye gives us with his distribution, dummy half play, class and experience at half back, and his kicking game. Dodd is improving, as is Blake, and we have Jack.
6.5/7 out of 10 so far, with a definite upward trend lately. COYS
I honestly do not know as it stands. The league is so tight I am not sure anyone can be happy with how things have gone really.

The negatives - We failed on the most important game so far in the season and heads went down and the team threw the towel in. That to me is not acceptable and something very un-saints like. General play with the attack is also still a huge worry for me and the constant (forced) changes are not helping with fixing that

The positives - we managed to beat Wigan at home and our recent form has improved.

However, I think the manner of the way we lost to Warrington in the cup is the thing that has really let us down because we have managed to get rid of the issues we had 10 years ago with big games. , but then our defence (save for a few strange moments) has been excellent and still the best in the league.

I do think we have had a quite a good run of fixtures which has fed into the general saints fan being more positive. I thought I was pretty positive, but this year there are too many doubts that has turned me into a pessimistic fan.

I would say that if it was not for the manner of the warrington defeat I would say B, but I think taking that into account and our inability to score points I think its probably low B/high C.

It is crazy to say that when we are sat top. However, the league is so tight and Wigan have a game in hand.
Going to Catalan in the play offs is the one you don't want, ultimately that's what did us last year, if we'd have played Wigan home or away I'd have fancied us to go through and have beaten Cats in the final.
It's quite open Saints, Wigan, Wire looking good whilst Hull KR and Catalan remain dangerous. We've got as good a chance as anyone and we'll hopefully be getting players back from injury.
Put it one way nobody will be rubbing their hands playing Saints in a Grand Final, we need a top two finish mind.
If you'd have asked a month ago, you'd have got a very different answer. Overall it's hard to argue with top spot at this stage, although I feel the fixtures have been kind and we're in somewhat of a false position. It's likely we lose at Wigan, both games against Warrington and the two at Leigh given they seem to be our kryptonite for some reason. That makes it hard to finish top 2, even if we did well outside those games, there would be a defeat or two. I think 3rd or 4th would probably be a more accurate reflection of where we are at the moment. Wellens I'd have wanted out a month ago, but I've got to give him credit. He's learned Bennison was a mistake (Which a lot on here got totally wrong) and he's dealt with it and he's come up with a solution for the volume of injuries in the pack by moving the ball quicker and playing with more intent. So good signs there, what happens when Walmsley, Paasi and Knowles are all back to full speed will define the season ultimately, but it's good we've given ourselves a chance. The response to adversity recently, particularly the tactical adaptation we've clearly had and the performance against Wigan do give some cause for optimism. But it's tapered by the harder fixtures we have coming and the issues with recruitment I feel we have that no one else seems to see, which is going to trip us up pretty harshly if we don't start acting.
July is going to be a defining month I think. We'll see where the land lies after those but we certainly need to put in a better performance against Wire than we did last time. Wigan and Leigh away obviously tough fixtures. If we can get a couple of wins there though, then there's every chance we'll be on for a top 2 finish come the end.

I thought we started the season well and we were going well until the Salford loss, which was a poor one given the position we were in beforw Percivals red and that result could bite us come the end of the year. That seemed to set our confidence back a bit and we went into defensive mode. Some very up and down performances from then until Cas. A good win against Wigan, but some poor performances against Wire and Hull KR and a frustrating defeat at Catalans when we should've won. The attack was frustrating the life out of me and it just looked like we had no plan.

The cup loss was kind of the tipping point I think. Going out in the cup has actually benefited us given our injuries tbh. Despite the injury problems we actually look fresh at the moment and I think it's given Wellens time to reflect, refocus, get the lads training hard and you can see our attack has improved since then. It's kind of like when Woolf had the covid reset, Wellens is getting mini resets now with the weeks off and is getting more time to work with the squad in training without games. If we can keep improving the attack and kicking game, we know more often than not we can rely on our defence in a big game. I'm actually more optimistic than I was earlier in the season as I'm seeing good signs with the ball now. Our pts difference compared to last year is proof of that. Let's see what the 2nd half brings, but the good thing is we're not favourites so can enjoy it without the expectation.
I see improvements in attack.. and I hope its isn't because Lomax is out. Can't help but think we need Mbye on the field as much as possible in whatever position he plays.. in the halves ideally.

Passi back is a huge boost.

If the signs of improvement carry on so will my optimism. Quietly confident at this moment in time
Just for a bit of context these our our remaining fixtures. I have arranged them into difficulty.

The first 5 are gimmes and we should really work on our points difference in these games. Next 5 are banana skins but I would say we would start each one as favourite. Then we have 4 tough games that are 50/50s

Round 14: London Broncos A

Round 16: Castleford H

Round 26: Castleford Tigers H

Round 20: Hull FC A

Round 21: Salford Red Devils H

Round 24: Huddersfield Giants A

Round 15: Salford Red Devils A

Round 23: Hull KR H

Round 27: Leigh Leopards A

Round 19: Leigh Leopards A

Round 25: Warrington Wolves A

Round 18: Warrington Wolves H

Round 22 Wigan Warriors M

Round 17: Wigan Warriors A

We are currently on 10 wins, 3 losses. Last season we finished with 20 wins 7 losses.

So Looking at our wins. If we assume no disasters in the 5 easier games that takes us to 15 wins, which last season was a playoff place.

So it depends how we do in the rest of the games as to where we finish in the playoffs
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