Keiron: TV pundits are trying to get Wilko banned

Keiron Cunningham, left, and club captain Jon Wilkin
Keiron Cunningham, left, and club captain Jon Wilkin
  • Cunningham rages at Sky Sports pundits
  • Saints coach believes his players are harshly treated
  • Mark Flanagan suffered damage to his tear duct in Wakefield clash

Keiron Cunningham accused Sky Sports pundits of “doing their best to get Jon Wilkin banned” after Saints’ hard-fought win over Wakefield.

The Saints boss was angered by the analysis of an alleged high tackle and told of his relief that Saints are not on Sky this week for fear of further “trial by TV”.

Lauitiiti hit Flanagan in the head with his shoulder. The officials didn’t see a problem with it - but how has Mark split his eye open and suffered damage to his tear duct, which is inside his eye? Despite that, the Sky Sports guys did their best to get Wilko banned

Saints boss Keiron Cunningham

Cunningham also told of his frustration at refereeing inconsistencies after Mark Flanagan was left needing eye surgery following a high tackle by Wildcats prop Ali Lauitiiti.

He said: “Lauitiiti hit Flanagan in the head with his shoulder. The officials didn’t see a problem with it - but how has Mark split his eye open and suffered damage to his tear duct, which is inside his eye? Despite that, the Sky Sports guys did their best to get Wilko banned.

“We had Travis Burns banned for a head strike last week - the same week Widnes and Wakefield’s players were hitting each other around the head, but not one of them was charged.

“My bloke, because we were on Sky, gets judged straight away. I’m glad we’re not on Sky this week. At least I won’t have to worry about one of my players being charged.”

Cunningham told of his pride at Saints’ performance against Wakefield, having been forced into a reshuffle by early injuries to Jonny Lomax, Luke Thompson and Mark Percival.

Thompson, who suffered concussion, could be in contention this week “if he passes all the head tests”, but Lomax and Percival, who both suffered knee injuries, are definitely out. Both were set to see a specialist.

Cunningham praised the performance of his forwards - particularly Mose Masoe and Alex Walmsley - but questioned the refereeing of the ruck.

“We’ve been mugged in the ruck for the last three weeks,” he said.

“I’ve asked the officials if the rules have changed and whether there is any advantage in carrying the ball hard anymore?

“Mose, Alex and Joe Greenwood all made breaks and punched holes in Wakefield’s defence and we should have been entitled to a quick play-the-ball.

“My forwards dominated that game but Wakefield got 16 quick play-the-balls and we got six. James Roby and Lance Hohaia have hardly run from dummy half recently because the officials are doing nothing about it.”