Cunningham: Our reserves are becoming the Unbeatables!

Saints head coach Keiron Cunningham
Saints head coach Keiron Cunningham

Saints have not be pulling up any trees at Super League level so far this season but lower down the scale they are developing an aura close to invincibility.

The reserves chalked up their eighth win in succession on Wednesday night, crushing old rivals Wigan Warriors 46-8 at Langtree Park while a few days earlier the U19s had toppled The City of Hull 42-10 to extend their 100 per cent record to 13 games.

Head coach Keiron Cunningham, who came through a similar system during his playing days, said: “We have always had good structures but when I first came on board I thought we had gone backwards slightly with what we were doing.

“So we started at the bottom up which you have to do. We have got good staff in place and if we could get them in the right systems, doing the right things then they would develop into the future of the club. You have seen evidence of that with the ones that have come through this year.”

Cunningham added: “The reserves have been a blessing in disguise for us. You have seen the benefit and how it takes the younger players to another level in their career.

“It is a good stepping stone and gets them ready for the first team. There are plenty more kids to come through, too. If you don’t see them this year then you will next year.”

He went on: “The 19s are on a roll and there are plenty of kids who have a real influence not playing, too.

“They keep finding a way. On Friday they finished the game with last season’s under 16s pack, showing the kind of promise there is and the good things involved in the club going forwards.”

The only junior side to swallow the bitter pill of defeat so far this season is the Scholarship group but three wins from six games, two defeat and a draw, is not too bad a record at this stage of the campaign.

One player who came through the Academy system is centre Mark Percival and along with team-mates Kyle Amor, Joe Greenwood, James Roby, and Alex Walmsley joined other England hopefuls at a get-together organised by new international boss Wayne Bennett recently.

“I think they all deserved their call up,” said Cunningham.

“In Percival’s case, the one thing we now need to do is make him more durable so he can string more games together.

“He is certainly a future international if he keeps developing. There aren’t many centres like him out there, only Cudjoe and Watkins and then the next for me is Percy.”