Yates’ view: Saints must heed the warning of Castleford experience

Castleford's Matt Cook halted by Saints' Morgan Knowles and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook
Castleford's Matt Cook halted by Saints' Morgan Knowles and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook
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Turn back the clock 12 months - and heed the warnings which lie ahead.

That’s my message to Saints and their red and white army of fans who are just coming down to earth following Saturday’s 36-18 demolition of Castleford Tigers in the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

But the boot was on the other foot last May when Cas, like St Helens today, were setting a red-hot pace at the top of the table and many people’s tip to complete a league and cup double.

They had turned over Saints 53-10 in the same round of the cup competition and playing the kind of rugby which over the years had earned them the nickname Classy Cas.

It seemed they were almost invincible at the time, yet at the end of a long hard season the two major trophies had slipped through their grasp - a 32-24 quarter final Challenge Cup defeat against eventual winners Hull FC at the K COM Stadium and a disappointing 24-6 setback to Leeds Rhinos in the Grand Final - ending their double dreams.

They had the consolation of lifting the League Leaders’ Shield which, in my opinion, doesn’t carry the recognition and status in the sport it deserves, but I bet the players would have swapped that piece of silverware for a win at Wembley or Old Trafford.

Let’s hope Saints don’t fall into the same trap and the early signs look good.

No one in the camp was going overboard about the ruthless and efficient manner they put Daryl Powell’s boys to the sword and ‘we have won nowt yet’ was the clear message from the dressing-room.

Even man of the match Benny Barba kept his feet firmly on the ground despite grabbing a hat-trick of tries and masterminding a Saints’ performance which had fans on the terraces and in the stand waxing lyrically, as well as TV viewers who tuned-in to the BBC’s coverage of the match.

“It’s a case of taking one match at a time,” said the 28-year-old Australian full back.

Next up for the league leaders are neighbours Widnes Vikings in the Magic Weekend at Newcastle. Saints will be hoping their Aussie import will turn on his own brand of magic once more!