Simmons: We’ve got to aim for third spot

Saints Player Sia Soliola
Saints Player Sia Soliola

BATTLE-scarred Saints will now need to put broken dreams behind them and focus totally on cementing third spot ahead of the end-of-season play-offs.

Their powers of recovery, following last weekend’s shattering defeat against Wigan Warriors in the semi-final of the Carnegie Challenge Cup, will be tested to the limits on Friday night when fourth-in-the-table Huddersfield Giants visit the Stobart Stadium.

Only one point separates the two clubs in the Engage Super League table and having had a fixture-free spell, the Giants will come out with all guns blazing.

In an ideal world and after their cup exertions, Saints’ head coach Royce Simmons would have loved to give one or two of his far from 100 per cent fit players a break this week, but he cannot afford to, in what is club’s most vital league encounter of the season so far.

He said: “Unfortunately, I am not in a position to rest anyone, because the Huddersfield game is so important and some may have to play through the pain barriers.

“However, once Friday’s game is over, I will be giving the players a much-needed few days break to recharge their batteries, both mentally and physically before the following Sunday’s difficult trip to Hull KR.”

Simmons also saluted the bravery of his players in the aftermath of Saturday’s Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-final defeat – the third season in succession Saints had fallen at the penultimate hurdle in their bid to reach Wembley.

He said: “I thought we were courageous and showed a great deal of character.

“We went into the tie with a number of players carrying injuries, and others suffering from bumps and bruises, after a difficult week in which we were only able to put a team together during the captain’s run.”