Rush - Time to roll up our sleeves

Caretaker coach Mike Rush speaking at Saints Langtree Park Stadium
Caretaker coach Mike Rush speaking at Saints Langtree Park Stadium

MIKE Rush launched his first official press conference by adopting an unusual approach to media relations.

Saints caretaker boss eschewed any Jose ‘Special One’ Mourinho pretensions and instead opted to befuddle Fleet Street’s finest by mischievously shuffling reporters’ tapes and other recording devices around!

Rush’s first official press conference contained a refreshing air of joviality and light-hearted banter.

After performing his switcharoo trick Rush went on to reveal the extent of his ambitions reached no further than beating his son on the games console.

The 36-year-old former schoolteacher explained his reluctance to enter the limelight as a head coach but just as clear was his willingness to take on any role for his beloved home-town club.

Rush has been at St Helens longer than chairman Eamonn McManus, who earlier this year realised his 12-year-old ambition to take the club into a new stadium, and has seen five head coaches come and go.

His day job has been to develop and nurture local youngsters and, with James Roby, Jonny Lomax and Lee Gaskell among the crop of rising stars to pass through his hands, Rush can feel pretty pleased with his work over the years.

But his contribution extends far beyond coaching to such extremes as washing the kit and helping prepare the pitch.

“It’s not a joke,” he said. “I was washing the kit last week because it needed to be done and we were out there getting the pitch ready when we were playing Salford because at that time that’s what needed to be done.

“It’s sport isn’t it, you have to roll your sleeves up and get on with it.

“Eamonn asked me to do what he believes is right for the club at this given moment and I’ll do that.

“I’m a St Helens lad and I never want to see this club not be at the forefront of the game, whether that be developing players or picking up trophies. I’ll do everything I can to try and make that happen.

“I’ve not been chef so that’s one job I’m going to aspire to do or the accountant, I’d love to get my hands on that job.”

Rush admitted he was a bag of nerves in the build-up to his first match in charge, Sunday’s Grand-Final rematch with Leeds.

“I was up at the crack of dawn and managed to mend a trampoline which has been an 18-month job and clean the back garden,” he said.

“I even nearly mowed the grass and it’s a 3G grass so that would have been embarrassing.

“It was the first time I’ve bought a newspaper in 11 years, I had to find things to do.”

With assistance from former captain and club legend Keiron Cunningham, Rush enjoyed a fairytale start to his new role as Saints gained a thumping 46-6 victory over the Rhinos but he insists that has not changed his stance.

“If it ends on Tuesday, I suppose I’ve got a 100% record so there can’t be many things to be down about,” he said.

Rush’s next task will be to bring down leaders Warrington, who are spearhead by an old school-mate in Lee Briers, the Wolves’ veteran stand-off.

Briers said: “Rushy’s three years older than me. We knew of each other but I didn’t have much to do with him because of the age difference.

“He lives two or three miles from me. He’s done a fantastic job over the years with the kids.”