NATHAN Brown couldn’t fault the effort and commitment of both teams on Friday night.
Saints and Leeds locked horns in an epic Super League Playoff tie with his charges edged in the dying seconds by a Danny McGuire drop goal.
“When you lose and your season is over it is very disappointing. We can’t come back next week,” he said. “I am proud of our guys, and Leeds’ too, the effort was super. I think you saw what proper semi final football is all about.”
Saints found themselves 10-0 down away at Leeds before fighting back to level.
Jordan Turner then put a tricky touchline conversion wide – much like Kevin Sinfield had done in the first half – and then they spawned the chance of a penalty shot at goal, instead opting to push the Rhinos right back on their line.
“To kick a goal from half way… well that is a big kick,” Brown said. “Our number one kicker Jonny Lomax isn’t kicking because of a hamstring injury so we took the chance to put it into touch. When it’s there you have a good chance of scoring or setting up for a field goal. Miss the kick and you might not even get the ball back. We took the safest option with what we are working with at the moment.
“It has been a tough season and we effectively began to rebuild the squad during the season. We have made some big changes. For a long time at this club Francis Meli was on the wing with Ade Gardner and Paul Wellens at full back. We now have two young wingers and Jonny Lomax back there. That has added speed.
Jon Wilkin has played half which will change next year. The culture of the club is terrific and its effort and commitment is sensational.
“The youth system has provided the path to make the rebuild quite quick too. We haven’t achieved what we would have liked, but we have achieved in moving forward.”