McManus - It hurt to be ninth

Saints chairman Eamonn McManus had strong words for some of the club's under-performing players.
Saints chairman Eamonn McManus had strong words for some of the club's under-performing players.

Struggling Saints responded to a hard-hitting broadside from chairman Eamonn McManus by toppling Bradford Bulls on Sunday - their first home win since Easter Monday.

Mr McManus had thrown down the gauntlet to his players in the match-day programme, demanding they all show pride and passion when wearing the famous Red-Vee shirt.

The Saints’ supremo said: “Not in our wildest nightmares did any of us envisage that we would lie ninth in the Super League table at this stage of the season. There is no room left for sub-par performances either from the team, or by individual players.

“We now have pretty much a full squad to chose from and they all have to play with pride and passion for their shirt. There will be no place for those who don’t, regardless of reputation.”

Mr McManus went on: “We are a great club and it hurts badly those of us who feel this to witness where we stand presently. We have a team and coaching staff, playing and training in the best facilities in Super League who have the ability to win the Grand Final.

“It is now that improved performances have to happen and a solid winning sequence begins.”

He added “We have the quality of player and it must now be matched by the quality of desire.

“I know that is what the fans rightly demand and expect and that you will get behind the team when they show it.”

Mr McManus’ kick up the pants seems to have produced the desired reaction as Saints completed their first double of the season at Bradford’s

expense, much to the delight of head coach Nathan Brown.

Brown said: “We were by far the better side when in possession and with the chances created could have scored 60 or 70 points.

“We are now in a better position than we were a few weeks ago and need to build on it.”

Brown is confident the worst is over after his near full-strength side returned to winning ways against Bradford.

Saints withstood a second-half fightback from the Bulls to secure a 30-18 victory that breathes new life into their Super League play-off campaign.

A second win in eight matches enabled Brown’s men to leapfrog Bradford into eighth place and the coach is now hoping they can continue their climb up the table.

Saints’ creativity was significantly boosted by the return of half-back or full-back Jonny Lomax from a three-month injury nightmare while hooker James Roby also made a big impact on his first start for three months and on-loan scrum-half Gareth O’Brien provided some nice touches on his home debut.

“Now we’ve got Willie Manu back and Jonny and Robes coming back and young Gaz coming from Warrington, we’ve got some good, positive things to move forward with,” he said.

Manu, Tom Makinson, Sia Soliola, Josh Jones and Jon Wilkin scored Saints’ tries while O’Brien kicked all five conversions.

Brett Kearney scored Bradford’s first-half try and Matty Blythe and Elliot Kear added others in the second half to set up a tense finish before they were forced to concede a sixth defeat in their last seven matches.