MIKE Rush has thrown down the gauntlet to his charges to carry on winning – or be pulled into a battle for the lower playoff places.
Speaking ahead of this Friday’s clash with seventh-placed Hull KR, Saints Acting Head Coach wants to continue the run of form that has seen them climb to fourth in the table.
“Would we have taken fourth when we took over? We probably would have,” he said. “What you’re asking me is if I would have taken two defeats in 12 league games or so… then I’m sure we would have.
“But we have a real test this Friday, Hull KR are playing well and alongside Wigan and us, are one of the form teams in the competition. We will need to make sure we are at our very best. Michael Dobson, Ben Galea and Craig Hall are all playing well for them and even though they have lost Kris Welham and Rhys Lovegrove they are still a class side.
“The eight will be tight right up until the end of the season and it is up to us to keep winning, stay in there and not get dragged into a battle for fifth to eighth.”
Saints came through the 32-10 win over Salford with Rush highlighting the backline of Paul Wellens, Tommy Makinson and Francis Meli as “outstanding”.
“They were great on Friday I thought,” he continued. “Francis Meli was really physical and a real handful and was complemented by Tommy Makinson who is lightning fast. Paul Wellens backed all that up really well. It was great to get a win at a place we normally struggle at.
“It was good to see Lee Gaskell get some game time too but he knows he has to keep working hard. He probably has to work harder than anyone in the starting 17 at the moment as when you are on the outer you have to work harder than those on the inner to break through.
“Sometimes it isn’t easy to knock someone over when you are winning games but I thought he did well at the weekend. Lee has been with us since he was 11 and I am a big fan; if I wasn’t I wouldn’t have signed him, but people have to understand he is still young and he still needs game sense and work on other facets of his game.
“Jamie Foster is the same really but probably has a tougher task. Adam Swift has had a run in the team and has done well. Tommy Makinson and Francis Meli are in great form and Ade Gardner, up until his injury, was the best of all of them. You have to feel for Ade there, he was outstanding against Leeds and Warrington.
“We’re doing well for wingers at the moment so Jamie has to work hard. He has to do something special in the under 20s to knock somebody over in the first team.”
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