Saints’ success in lifting their first piece of silverware since 2008 could herald the dawning of a new era at Langtree Park, according to head coach Nathan Brown.
The club will be presented with the League Leaders’ Shield ahead of Friday’s home game against Castleford Tigers in the opening round of the play-offs and hoping it will act an a inspirational stepping stone to their ultimate goal - victory in the Old Trafford Grand Final next month - and further achievements down the line.
Brown said yesterday: “Winning the League Leaders’ Shield is a fitting reward for the way we have performed this season, often under a great deal of adversity due to injuries to key players like Jonny Lomax, Luke Walsh and Jon Wilkin.
“We have a extremely young side which can only get better in time and with the foundations already in place, I am hoping that the League Leaders’ Shield is the first of many trophies which will eventually be heading our way.”
It is also Brown’s first major honour as a head coach in this country but the modest Aussie refused to take any credit.
“The guys - not me - deserve all the accolades and rightly so,” he insisted.
Now he will turn his attention on the Cas clash in which he is likely to be without winger Matty Dawson, who was carried off on a stretcher at Huddersfield last Friday suffering from numbness in his shoulder that stemmed from the neck, and prop Alex Walmsley, sent off in the same match and expected to receive a ban at last night’s RL Disciplinary Commitee hearing.
Brown said: “The Tigers have proved their capabilities already this season by reaching the Tetley’s Challenge Cup Final and coming within one match of winning the League Leaders’ Shield and we will have to be at our best to reach the next stage of the competition.”
n Paul Clough has signed a two-year deal with the Bradford Bulls - and will be hoping to play a major role in the West Yorkshire club’s bid to regain their Super League status at the first time of asking.
Saints’ powerouse forward, who has been on loan at the Widnes Vikings during the 2014 campaign, will be reunited with Lee Gaskell - a former St Helens team-mate.
Bulls’ coach James Lowes said: “I think Paul will be a great leader for us in the pack, while offering a lot of guidance to some of our
Clough, who will turn 27 later this month, made his Saints’ debut against Hull FC on July 8, 2005 and went on to make 189 appearances
and scoring 24 tries as well collecting two Challenge Cup medals in 2007 and 2008.