Cunningham: “Tough Week”

KEIRON Cunningham says it’s been a tough few days at Saints as he prepares his charges for the Super 8s clash with Huddersfield tomorrow (Thursday).

“It’s been a tough week,” he said. “It never gets any easier watching a defeat and when your players don’t perform to their standards. A lot of things can come out of a defeat though and you can learn more from those experiences than when you win.

“It gave me the chance to get a good look at the players who want to stand up and graft and to be fair I probably didn’t praise some of them after the game. There were a few that really busted their backsides for me and wanted to win as they do week in week out. It is the guys who didn’t do that and finding out why they didn’t and discovering their motives now and to the end of the year.

“There were a few home truths as I really expected the players to rise to the occasion on Friday and have a crack. But I thought we just did enough in the first half. Hull had a go in the second to see how we would respond and we didn’t. That lack of response concerned me. We had a real tough day at training on Monday and we will see what happens.”

He continued: “I’ll shoulder every bit of blame there could possibly be for the performance of the side. I’ve not changed what I have been doing. Me and my coaching staff still work as hard as we ever do. We give the players the information they need and make them better players.

“But sometimes you can’t give them will and want. Sometimes I wish I could take the field and lead by example. When they cross the field my job is kind of done but their lack of will and want surprised me and everyone. You can learn a lot from a loss and hopefully this has given us a kick up the backside for the rest of the season.

“After the weekend I saw the response I wanted to see from all my senior players and hopefully we can kick on now.

“The players understand the situation, where we are at and what could happen if we do the right things. That is the motivation.”

Saints take on Huddersfield this Thursday and it’s fair to say games between the two sides have been humdingers over recent seasons.

Twice Luke Walsh has dropped a goal to take the spoils for Saints.

“They are a real good side,” Keiron added. “They have a big pack and lots of strike over the field. Joe Wardle is one of my favourite players and he deserves an international call up. He is a back rower who adds so much venom to the side. Danny Brough is underrated too and is one of the best organisers and kickers in the comp.

“They are a well organised and drilled side. It is always a tussle with them that goes down to the finest of margins.”

Tommy Makinson was named in the 19 man squad this week and should return if he continues to progress and tick all the boxes following his leg break in June.

The game comes a little early for Captain Jon Wilkin though – he should return against Leeds in September whilst Atelea Vea is progressing well.

Tickets for Thursday’s home game with Huddersfield are now on sale from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.

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