Yates' verdict: Valuable experienced gained by Saints' young guns
Sometimes you can learn more from a defeat than a victory and hopefully the youngsters in an almost unrecognisable Saints' side, which lost 26-14 to Salford Red Devils at the AJ Bell Stadium last night (Friday), will take on board the experience gained at first team level and use it to their advantage in the future.
It was definitely a learning curve for the likes of debutants Jon Bennison, Sam Royle and Shay Martyn - son of the club's former ball-playing half backTommy Martyn who won league and cup honours during the early years of summer rugby.at Knowsley Road.
Head coach Krisfian Woolf also included other players with few senior level matches under their belts but they certainly made their presence felt and at one stage in the first half Saints had established a 14-6 lead and looked as if they were on the verge of an unexpected win.
But a Salford try just before the interval turned the tide and their greater physicality saw them cross the line and end the season on a winning note.
At the same time, it didn't stop Woolf gushing praise on his rookies who stepped up to the plate and said, quite rightly, he was proud of their performance in the circumstances.
Now the players can start their build up to the play-offs and having a week's rest before they play again as a reward for finishing second in the table at the end of the regular season, those suffering from knocks and bruises have a chance to recover and be ready to fire on all cylinders as the business end of the year reaches a crescendo.