Cunningham expecting Saints to bounce back

Saints head coach Keiron Cunningham is anticipating a strong reaction from his players against Castleford
Saints head coach Keiron Cunningham is anticipating a strong reaction from his players against Castleford

Saints will be hoping to continue a 20 year winning stretch over Castleford Tigers tonight.

Keiron Cunningham’s men will be hoping to put the agony of their 39-0 drubbing to South Sydney Rabbitohs behind them when they take on the Tigers at Langtree Park tonight.

Cunningham, however, is not expecting any lingering after-effects when his side put their winning start in the league on the line.

“It was a one-off event against the greatest side in the world,” Cunningham said.

“Our record and our form before that was good so Sunday shouldn’t have any bearing on what happens from now on. If anything, it should spur us on.

“Our confidence is fine, it is our pride that has taken a battering, but we have a good bunch of players who are professional and committed to the cause.

“Some players owe their team-mates after Sunday and they will want to repay them.”

Saints are also tipped to bounce straight back by former player Michael Shenton, the Tigers captain who appreciates the size of his

team’s task.

“I’m guessing they’ll move on quickly,” said Shenton, who was in the Saints team that lost the 2011 Grand Final to Leeds Rhinos.

“The World Club Challenge has gone now but they are still unbeaten in Super League and will still be confident going into this.

“But this is all about this Cas team at the minute and how we go about what we want to do in this game and what we want to get out of it.

“It’s about challenging ourselves, going to the premiers to try and beat the champions, and it would be a real statement if we could go there and make it happen.”

Castleford have not made it happen in St Helens since December 1992 when they won a Regal Trophy tie at Knowsley Road and their last away league win over Saints was in October 1990, long before the arrival of summer rugby.

They went close with a 32-32 draw in 1998 but their 41-0 play-off mauling at Langtree Park last September was a 14th straight defeat by St Helens and brought their otherwise impressive season to a shuddering halt.

“It’s more about us than them,” said Castleford coach Daryl Powell, whose side are still looking for their first win of the season. “It’s tough going there anyway.

“Cas haven’t won there for 25 years. We’re capable of doing that. It’s all about us and getting our performance levels and intensity right and not worrying too much about Saints.

“We’ve been pretty close in our first two games, disappointingly close, and not quite got the result and this is an opportunity to show what we’re about this year.”