Sunday, May 05, 2013

This team means so much to me - from my childhood. Feel fee to click 'no interest'.

Permit me some click about my Rugby League Team.
This is a thinking mans reflection from the Observer Newspaper today.
This team means so much to me - from my childhood.
Feel free to click away .......... if only me reads it - I need to ventilate! 

St Helens face table drop after fall from grace. 

St Helens find themselves unexpectedly interested in Hull KR's trip to Castleford this afternoon. 
A Rovers win would dump Saints, 
already in unfamiliar territory in the bottom half of the Super League table, 
out of the top eight playoff positions. 

The worry for Nathan Brown, 
the club's affable but apparently accident-prone Australian coach, 
is that it may be a while before they return. 
After Friday nighfs home defeat by Widnes - 
the first time they have been beaten by their rivals from across the Cheshire border 
in the 17-year Super League era - 
their next three fixtures are at Leeds in the first Monday night match of the season on 20 May, 
against Warrington at the Etihad Stadium the following Saturday in the "Magic Weekend in Manchester, 
and then at Huddersfield, another member of the top four. 

Defeats in those three games would leave Saints on 13 points from 17 fixtures, 
With only 10 more matches in which to save their season. 
To put this into perspective, 
the club have been the most consistently successful of the summer era, 
never having finished outside the top four in 17 seasons, 
and not since 2004 outside the top two. 

So this is a startling fall from grace, 
which can be attributed only partly to the injuries that have hit them harder than most clubs. 
It also reflects a confused recruitment strategy that goes back well before Brown's arrival at the club last winter. 
This has left an alarming proportion of the salary cap being paid to undenvhelming overseas forwards - of whom Josh Perry, 
the Australian prop, has been the greatest disappointment - 
while youngsters have to make do and mend in the backs. 

The main hope for Saints lies in the return after lengthy injury absences of Jonny Lomax and James Roby. 
A defeat by Hull KR in the fourth round of the Challenge Cup, 
making more unwanted history as the club's earliest exit since the mid-90s, 
leaves them with more than two weeks to lick their wounds  before the trip to Leeds,
whereas the  Rhinos will be tested in the pick of the fifth-round ties at Huddersfield on Saturday. 

Could Lomax and Roby return at Headingley, and inspire a shock win to trigger a Saints resurgence?