NATHAN Brown praised his side’s “super effort” in the derby win over Wigan on Friday but bemoaned the officiating.
Saints won 16-12 to extend their lead at the top of the table but were on the wrong end of a lopsided penalty count.
And whilst it didn’t sour the win, it did leave Brown seeking answers.
“I thought it was a super effort from the guys to play such a good team but I thought the officiating of the game was horrible,” he said. “I thought Phil Bentham had an absolute shocking performance.
“Waney (Shaun Wane) has been whinging for the last two months and we cop it up the backside today. We never ring Jon Sharp, we don’t complain after any game, and then you get a performance like that because other coaches are putting the referees under pressure.
“He is a good referee is Phil and I’m not saying we didn’t deserve the penalties against us, but I can assure you I will be able to find another 1,000 where he could have penalised Wigan. I find it sad because we sit there, never complain, never whinge, but as is the case in the NRL the more you whinge the better you get the calls.
“It doesn’t sour the win at all but it is disappointing. It was a sensational game and I’m sure both sets of fans know their players have given everything. I’m sure both coaches will look at the game and think we could have done this a little bit better or that a little bit better. Everyone scrapped and fought for everything.
“But you just want a fair go and we didn’t get a fair go tonight.”
He continued: “Wigan threw a lot at us. They are very structured and you do know what is coming, but it keeps on coming. They have Matty Bowen, Lockers (Sean O’Loughlin) and Matty Smith and the young kids who have come in to replace Blake Green and Mickey Mac (McIlorum). They are fortunate with the depth of their squad not only across the board but in key positions too. Sam Powell and George Williams are good players.
“Their forwards are physical players and I thought all of our pack did well. Ben Flower has been sensational for Wigan and Greg Richards was carrying the ball at him hard, Flower was hitting him hard, and Greg was trying his best to compete with him.
“Luke Thompson physically matched up with Wigan and went toe to toe with them. Physically, they won the battle in the Good Friday game and we certainly didn’t lose it in this one. It was a good tough game of footy.”
Brown says the key now for Saints is to back up this performance over the next month – starting with the trip to Hull KR next Sunday.
“It was a wonderful night,” he added. “Our fans were terrific and Wigan’s made the occasion great as well. There is a lot of happiness about us but it is a long race this one. Two bad performances and you could be fifth. We need to have a good month.”
Saints will monitor scrum half Luke Walsh who came off in the first half with a back injury.
Ticket details for Saints next matches are here.