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  1. I see the point. On reflection, it is harsh to say the 2019 team isn't amongst the best because they didn't win the treble yet name the 2008 side in the top bracket. Saying that, in 2008 we didn't lose from mid April to Grand Final night. Had we won the 2008 Grand Final, I think we would talk about that side in higher terms than 2006. In terms of entertainment, I agree that 2019 trumps both 2006 and 2008. As for 2000, that year was unreal. Incredibly entertaining and to beat Wigan and Bradford (who also had fantastic sides) to the title was a special achievement.
  2. Behind our 2000, 2006 and 2008 teams, but still special. We were fantastic this year but can't be considered amongst the greatest as we didn't win the treble.
  3. Here you go http://blog.betfred.com/98169/betfred-sponsorship/and-the-betfred-super-fan-of-the-year-is/
  4. I don't think there can be much doubt that Salford's presence in the final was a big contributory factor. There were so many stories surrounding Salford it made it an easier sell to a floating fan. Good scheduling too, having the final on a football international weekend as we have done for a few years now. Hopefully we can have more new teams there in years to come.
  5. Just about to post the same thing! Everything about that clip is just hilarious! As for Foster, he fell out of the Saints team when Simmons was sacked and Rush / Cunningham took over, the former of which didn't see eye to eye with Foster (to put it mildly)! He left Saints soon after and it never really worked out for him.
  6. My squad would have looked a bit different. Watts is probably the most unlucky to miss out. I think we have one if not two too many half backs. I can see why Hall was selected, but I am cautious of a player being selected for international rugby despite barely having played all year. Given the squad selected, I doubt there will be too much debate about the backline or pack. There are a number of different potential full backs and half backs though. I think I would go 1. Coote 6. Widdop 7. Hastings with Lomax on the bench.
  7. I think what we have now works well. Grand Final - convenient for the heartlands (given we only know the finalists 1 or 2 weeks before) Challenge Cup Final - A major event in the south and has more of the 'day out' element for heartland fans Magic Weekend - A bit away from the heartlands, but not too far. Allows the opportunity for a more experimental venue. I do think Wembley is a bit large for the Cup Final, but it does have an element of prestige about it, so understand why it is kept there. The only question I would ask regarding venues of our big events would be internationals, which often ignore London, where we draw our largest international crowds. I agree that Old Trafford isn't perfect, but it is more atmospheric than Wembley for one. This is an event that should stay in the heartlands and there is no other venue that is large enough to compete in the north yet.
  8. You're right. Suggesting that clearly the best team over the course of both the regular season and play offs deserves to be crowned champions is crazy. On reflection, I feel a bit stupid having posted that.
  9. If Salford could make the play offs next year, then that would be a brilliant achievement. The loss of Hastings, Bibby and Jones will be significant. Watson has made a habit of getting the most out of his team against the odds though, so I wouldn't be surprised to see them in or around the play offs again in 2020.
  10. Moving on to what we should be talking about the match! Having finished 16 points clear and winning out play off games by an aggregate of 63-10 (against 2nd and 3rd respectively), I do not think that it can be denied that we deserved to be champions. My concerns going into the match were about our errors and lack of composure. That's why I was pleased to see a patient approach, which was maintained even after we didn't make an immediate breakthrough. I thought we dominated the first 25 minutes, but Salford dominated the next 15 minutes. Half time certainly came at a better time for us. On reflection, the Percival try was huge. The first 10 minutes of the second half were evenly matched, perhaps even shaded by Salford, but we got that crucial first try. Not many sides come back from a two-score deficit in Grand Finals so that buffer was welcome. We didn't try too much for the rest of the game and sensibly saw it home. In the last two weeks, I have seen a different side to us. We adapted our tactics well, such as not risking a 20m restart and taking a powerplay on the last due to the short in goals. Now we have shown we can do it when it matters, I hope we can kick on further next year and that winning trophies doesn't become a once every few year occurrence. Salford played well and certainly did not freeze in the same way Castleford did in 2017. They caused us problems and on another day, the game would have been far closer. It's a shame they are losing a lot of their better players.
  11. As I say, critiquing a performance is fine. The abuse that I have seen is not. I agree with your points regarding chairmen and made such a point at the time.
  12. I'm not usually one to comment on referees, but I'll make an exception here. Firstly, I will caveat this post by saying that I was at the game last night. From what I saw, there were no obvious howlers. I am not saying that Kendall made no errors, just that they were not obvious in the stadium. The majority of complaints seem to relate to decisions such as ball steals etc. For those criticising decisions like that, I'll ask one simple question. When did you see it ? Was it on first view or after a super-slow mo replay? What is also interesting is the level of comment on the ref. Here, pages and pages of comment on decisions that were made after Saints went 18-6 up after 50 minutes. Of course, you will all know that only one side has ever overturned a 12 point deficit in a Grand Final. And the focus seemed to be on technical decisions like ball steals. Meanwhile, for the cup final, about two comments on an incorrectly disallowed try, just take a look at the thread - We had some tough calls in that game, but I would never dream of launching into the level abuse that I have seen in the last day or so aimed at Kendall. To say a decision is poor or critique a referee is fine, but abuse is becoming commonplace. It is an embarrassment to the people who post it, but even worse it shames the sport. And it is not just fans. Players sounding off on Twitter too. They are the representatives of our game and that's all they can think to post. The irony being a lot of these players are ones who have made far more mistakes and on a far more consistent basis than any Super League referee. We complain about the state of the sport yet in the same breath, seek to weaken it ourselves. More importantly, on Thursday, it was World Mental Health day. Universally, people now say about how important it is to speak out and offering compassion to those same people. Not two days later, those same people, mainly on Twitter, but sadly too on here are all to quick to launch into vitriolic personal abuse and nonsense allegations. And again, that included many players. I mean, we struggle to attract referees as it is. But just imaging a young person thinking about becoming a referee? After last night, some of those may have had second thoughts. Why would you want to put yourself through that? And the comments from fans and players filter down to amateur and junior level. I cannot imagine the levels of intimidation that those young referees (some of them children themselves) face, without the protection that referees at the top level have. I hope some people look back at what they posted last night and feel a degree of shame. We say we are interested in the welfare of those who take part in our sport. We should remember that this includes referees and mental wellbeing should be at the forefront of our minds at all times, not just when it suits.
  13. Being 'off' differs from team to team. For Saints, being off (as you highlight later in your post) is making a lot of errors and as a result losing composure and panicking. We finished 18 points clear of Salford in the regular season. That is 9 wins better off over the course of a 28 game season. So we won around 30% more matches than Salford. Given those facts, I do not think it is arrogant to suggest that if we play to the best of our ability that we will win the game. However, given Salford's form and quality, they have the ability to take advantage even if we are slightly off, in my view. The problems that often haunt us in big games did at Wembley, that being the routine of errors, fall behind, panic. I disagree that we played to our best on the day. I would argue that was Coote's worst performance for us and Lomax and Roby's worst performance for some time. We played very poorly and deserved to lose. If we play poorly on Saturday, we will certainly lose again. Warrington's high completion, excellent kicking game and clinical attack made us uncomfortable. Our defeat was down to several different reasons in my view. Salford will no doubt have their own blueprint to win, probably based on their excellent defence. In our best performance this year against Wigan two weeks ago, we did not make an error until the 39th minute. For the four weeks beforehand, we made an average of 17 errors per game . I said before the Wigan game if we made that many errors we would lose and believe the same to be true of Saturday. I agree that Salford will present a huge challenge. The biggest one for us will be how we cope if the game is close for a very long time (a near certainty in my view). Against Warrington in June, we handled that brilliantly. We didn't score until the 60th minute but stayed patient and broke them down. At Wembley, we handled it terribly and crumbled. Similar patience may be needed on Saturday. It may prove our biggest test to see if we remain patient. I agree. When you watch a game supporting your own team, you do find yourself focussing on your team's performance rather than the opposition. It's easier to take a more rounded view in a game where you are neutral. I understand why coaches take that view, because they need to focus on their own team, how to improve them and how they cope better with the challenging circumstances and better opposition.
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