SAINTS’ chances of securing a top two spot at the end of the regular Super League season is no longer in their own hands, acting head coach Mike Rush conceded yesterday.
Rush was speaking after his high fliers had suffered a 22-12 setback against second-in-the-table Warrington Wolves – their first defeat in eight outings.
It leaves third-placed Saints trailing the Wire by six points and eight behind leaders Wigan Warriors with just four games of the regular season remaining.
Rush said: “It is out of our hands where we will finish, but if we win our remaining games against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Castleford Tigers, London Broncos and Wigan Warriors we will definitely be third.
“I cannot speculate whether Warrington will win or lose any more games, but we will try and finish as high as we can in the league ladder.”
Reflecting on Monday night’s defeat, Saints’ caretaker boss said: “I was disappointed with the result because I thought our effort was good.
“I certainly can’t fault the boys defensively. They dug in during the first half when we had little or no possession and you can look at the reasons why.
“In the second half I was also a little bit disappointed by the manner in which we gave away two penalties on the fourth tackle.
“We spoke about that a couple of weeks ago during the game against Catalans Dragons in Pepignan, and you simply can’t give too many penalties away against good sides without being punished.
“Warrington fall into that category and they punished us tonight.”
Rush also admitted that the Wolves played the field positions much better with Lee Briers, Michael Monaghan and Mickey Higham major influences.
“I think when they got good ball sets they looked threatening, while in similar situations we tended to lack composure.
“Neither did we force them into one drop-out and that is unlike us but maybe we were working too hard to score off a big play or a big pass. Against a good side you have to apply a little extra pressure to win field positions and perhaps we didn’t do that.”