JOHN YATES: Early Saints 'try' could have changed narrative of the game

Dejection at the final hooter for Saints but it could have been so much different had Morgan Knowles' early try been given
Dejection at the final hooter for Saints but it could have been so much different had Morgan Knowles' early try been given

It will go down in the annals of Rugby League history as one the biggest-ever clangers in a Challenge Cup Final.


Only three minutes had elapsed on the clock when Saints' early pressure on the Warrington line seemed to have paid handsome dividends with Morgan Knowles touching down to the right of the posts.

But not only did referee Roberts Hicks rule 'no try' in the blink of an eye, he didn't deem it necessary to go upstairs for a second opinion.

Had he done so, then his original decision would clearly have been overruled and arguably put a different twist on what transpired in the remaining 77 minutes.

Boss Justin Holbrook said ruefully: ''I don’t want it to sound like sour grapes as a coach but that was a try. Big decisions like that can hurt in big games and it’s tough to take."

No one will contradict his observations but to be honest, Saints - chasing a domestic treble for the first time since the reign of Daniel Anderson - didn't scale anywhere near the heights achieved in Super League so far this season and at crucial times appeared to freeze in temperatures of 30 degrees.

They committed no fewer than 18 errors - mostly when they were chasing a game which was slipping through their grasp.

So call no-hopers Warrington, on the other hand, were guilty of only four mistakes and that was the vital difference between the two sides at the end of the day.

Wembley experience, too, turned out to be another key factor as Saints failed to deliver the goods once more in big-time encounters.

But now they will need to brush defeat under the carpet and set their sights firmly on winning the Old Trafford Grand Final in October.

It will be a major test of their character and at the same time hopefully a learning curve if they want to be as successful as Saints teams of yesteryear.