The Garry Schofield Column: St Helens may lead Super League but they’re boring to watch

ST HELENS seem to be taking a step into the past – and not to the glory days of four successive Super League titles!

They might have gone top of the table by beating Huddersfield through Jonny Lomax’s late field-goal on Thursday – and thanks to those defeats for Catalans, Wigan and Warrington later in the round they stayed there.

But boy, was it boring, a reminder of the grey days when Keiron Cunningham was at the helm.

In fact it was almost worse than watching Wigan under Shaun Wane, then Adrian Lam.

The resurgence of the Cherry and Whites under Matt Peet hasn’t made things any easier for Paul Wellens, who had to succeed two successful Saints coaches in Justin Holbrook, then Kristian Woolf – not easy.  

Paul is Saints through and through, and is a smart bloke who knows that the supporters not only want to see their side win trophies, but to do it by playing attractive, open, entertaining rugby.

Chairman Eamonn McManus and chief executive Mike Rush certainly get that, and weren’t afraid of getting rid of a club legend in Cunningham back in 2017.

Despite gaining seven wins out of nine in the league, I suspect Paul will be feeling a little bit of heat, particularly since one route to silverware was closed off by Warrington in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

Huddersfield are still firmly on the Wembley trail, with their semi-final against Warrington approaching, and they had climbed the Super League standings on the back of three successive wins.

They started strongly at Saints, with the help of another try by Adam Swift, who is in fine form, but failed to add to that early 12-0 lead, and were slowly but surely clawed back.

They weren’t helped by Jake Connor, who got involved in silly spats with a couple of Saints players and, as a result, was caught out for their second try, when he looked like a kid whose lollipop has been taken away.

I think they will bounce back by beating Salford by ten, and I’m predicting strong responses by Wigan (by 16 against Catalans in that Grand Final repeat) and Warrington (by 56 against Hull FC).

Hull KR versus St Helens in an interesting one, probably the tie of the round, and with home advantage, I think Rovers will topple Saints by twelve.

I’m going Leeds by 56 against London Broncos and Leigh by 36 against Castleford.

First published in League Express newspaper, Issue 3,428 (April 29, 2024)

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