YATES’ VERDICT: Cunningham knows the problem but can he fix it?

Huddersfield Giants Jake Connor is tackled by Saints Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook
Huddersfield Giants Jake Connor is tackled by Saints Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook

Lacking consistency - two words which sum up in a nutshell Saints’ form so far this season.

But it is a malaise which seems to be affected almost every Super League club in a campaign littered with crazy, mixed up and totally unpredictable results - and never better illustrated by the fact that triple champions Leeds Rhinos are currently propping up the table with only three wins in 15 games.

Saints’ head coach Keiron Cunningham is fully conscious of the problem and is working his socks off on the training field to find an answer but it will not be easy and while it’s a case of taking one match at a time the next three fixtures against Hull FC, Warrington Wolves and Catalans Dragons - currently one, two and three in the table - are enough to send cold shivers down any Saints fan’s spine.

Despite Sunday’s 48-20 drubbing against Huddersfield Giants at Newcastle, the Langtree Park boss was far from downbeat.

He said: “I felt we started the better of the two teams but we couldn’t hang in there for long enough periods.

“I’m not overly disappointed with the team. There are very fine margins in rugby league and, if you are consistently not good for the full 80 minutes, you lose the energy battle and you get results like this.

“It’s just happening too often for us. That’s the disappointing thing. But there is still a long way to go in the season. The top four and the top eight is up for grabs for anybody. All we need to do is find some consistency.”

How long Saints’ demanding fans will remain patient is another matter, particularly with some sections forcefully expressing their opinion on social media. But almost ever club is in the same boat, striving to find a satisfactory level of consistency over an 80-minute period and not always able to do so.

What did become crystal clear at the Magic Weekend, when fans had the opportunity to see all 12 Super League teams in action under one roof, was that there isn’t a great deal to chose between the combatants - and maybe it is all-round improvement rather than lack of consistency behind a plethora of topsy-turvy score lines.