Yates’ verdict: Humiliated, embarrassed and totally outclassed

Mike McMeeken pushes off Theo Fages
Mike McMeeken pushes off Theo Fages

Crushed, humiliated, embarrassed and totally outclassed.

That’s the damning verdict on Saints’ mother-and-father of a hiding in the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup at Castleford on a forgettable Saturday afternoon for the visitors.

New coach Justin Holbrook is expected to be at the helm for the Magic Weekend in Newcastle, hoping to repair the damage inflicted by Classy Cas’ 53-10 drubbing of the 12-times winners of the competition - and fresh input and ideas are needed as quickly as possible if shattered confidence is to be restored.

Holbrook faces a tougher challenge than any of his recent predecessors but the only crumb of comfort he can take from the cup defeat is that in July 2004 when St Helens - then the cup holders - were annihilated 70-0 by Leeds Rhinos.

It possibly was the kick up the backside which was needed and from 2005 to 2008 under the guidance of new Aussie coach Daniel Anderson won ever conceivable trophy on offer in the sport, as well as lifting the BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year award.

A Challenge Cup triumph is now obviously out of the question in 2017 - and while it seems a mountainous task on current form - all eggs must now be placed in one basket in a bid to win the Old Trafford Grand Final in October.

Admittedly, the current squad doesn’t have the quality of previous teams, which included the likes of Sean Long, Paul Scuthorpe and Keiron Cunningham but while I may be clutching at straws, they are surely capable of reaching the Super 8s and progressing to the latter stages of the competition where anything can happen in sudden death rugby.

Or is this just wishful thinking?