McManus: It’s time for a trophy

Saints chairman Eamonn McManus
Saints chairman Eamonn McManus

EAMONN McManus believes Saints are on the verge of ending their six-year trophy drought.

Even before the serious competitive action has started, pressure is growing on coach Royce Simmons to deliver the Holy Grail of the sport – the Grand Final crown.

The agony and heartbreak of suffering five consecutive defeats at Old Trafford is becoming hard to bear, but the thirst for renewed success is being led by the club chairman.

Mr McManus believes the 2012 squad is stronger than ever, and capable of winning the Challenge Cup and the Super League title – the latter last claimed in 2006.

He said: “We have a quality squad which is well balanced and possesses strength in depth – something we may have lacked in previous years.”

The arrival from Australia of Lance Hohaia, Anthony Laffranchi and Mark Flanagan will bolster the first-team squad.

Mr McManus said: “There will certainly be tremendous competition for places, which is due to some extent at having to blood some of our youngsters a little earlier than we originally planned, but that will keep everyone in the squad on their toes. “

“There is also a spirit and very professional attitude here, which combined with its natural talents, promises to deliver the goods.”

Some people may points to the horrendous run of injuries last season as one of reasons why the club failed to win any silverware in 2011, but the chairman insisted: “Don’t be judged on the quality of your excuses.

“You either do or you don’t win trophies and in the last three years we haven’t.

“Yes, it has been a disappointment to miss out during this period, but we set our own high standards at this club, and every year our ultimate aim is to win silverware.

“We also have a very good man in coach Royce Simmons. He is vastly experienced, sensible, and doing a great job for us.”

But they face a tricky opening fixture against new-look London Broncos at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Saints will be without centre Michael Shenton, still suffering the side-effects of a shoulder operation which he underwent after last year’s Grand Final.

It is also touch-and-go whether skipper Paul Wellens (Achilles) and Tony Puletua (shoulder) will be fit to play in London.