Season Review – Part 2!

WE continue our review of the 2015 season with reflections of April, May and June.

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The eagerly anticipated Good Friday derby ended in an agonising 12-4 defeat.

Saints lost Jon Wilkin to injury in training as well as Joe Greenwood and Paul Wellens during the game.
Saints’ only try came from McCarthy-Scarsbrook.

Easter Monday brought Saints’ third defeat on the bounce, a 20-28 loss at home to Hull FC. There were some plus points, with debuts to 19-year-old centre Jack Ashworth and 17-year-old Ricky Bailey.

Saints then won their first league game at Huddersfield Giants in five years with an 11-8 victory. Walsh, Travis and Wilkin all returned from injury and were integral in the victory.

But the visit of Leeds Rhinos was a match to forget for Saints fans. Down 28-6 at half time, a buoyant second half performance wasn’t enough as the Rhinos went home 16-41 winners.

The 34-16 decision at home to Widnes was a welcome return to winning ways. Percival returned from injury and played his part in a solid team performance – Makinson’s 80-yard try a highlight on the night.

Saints re-signed Shannon McDonnell after receiving the devastating news that star full back Jonny Lomax would be ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. The news came as a huge blow for Lomax, who sat out over half the season last year with a snapped cruciate ligament.

Lance Hohaia also retired with immediate effect.

Dougie Charnock made his first appearance in more than 18 months, and scored two tries, during a nine-try demolition of Wakefield Wildcats. McDonnell came straight into the starting line up at full back (after only landing in the country a day or two previous) and there were also braces for Walsh and Makinson.

Swift scored four tries in vain, three in the first half, during the side’s first visit of the season to Catalan, with Saints going down 33-26.

Despite a sterling effort from the Championship One side, York City Knights were well beaten in the Sixth Round of the Challenge Cup. Makinson scored four whilst Swift bagged three. York did score late on, much to the delight of the traveling and home supporters.

With Walsh out injured and Wilkin suspended, Charnock was drafted in at scrum half for the trip to the KC Stadium. Saints defended for their lives, eventually beating Hull FC 17-10 with superb tries from McDonnell and Makinson. Turner rounded off the win with a drop goal.

And Saints then beat Warrington 20-16 at the Magic Weekend in Newcastle – the rivals serving up another classic that went right to the whistle.

At the end of the month Saints announced the signing of Lama Tasi for the 2016 and 2017 seasons whilst its Academy was rated as Outstanding by the RFL once again.

A 32-12 victory over the Salford Red Devils took Saints back to the top of the league, with the home side scoring 24 unanswered points in the first half.

However, the loss of Makinson to injury at the death took the shine off the win.

Despite being down 10-8 at half time, Saints produced a stunning second half display to beat arch rivals Wigan Warriors at Langtree Park. Led by Wilkin, Saints produced their best performance of the year so far, with tries coming from Swift, Turner, Burns, McDonnell and the captain.

A last minute Ben Roberts drop goal sealed the win for the home side when Saints travelled to Castleford Tigers, winning 25-24.

After a tough month of fixtures, the team were dealt another injury blow with mid-season signing Shannon McDonnell injuring his Achilles. He was subsequently ruled out for the remainder of the season, adding to the already horrendous full back injury crisis.

And June 24 was a sad day for every Saints fan, as Paul Wellens announced his retirement with immediate effect to bring the curtain down on an incredible 18 year professional career. Fittingly, he bowed out as a Super League Champion.

Thanks to Kyle Amor’s first try of the season, Saints marched on into the Challenge Cup semi-finals after beating Widnes Vikings 36-20 at Langtree Park. The result was only secure in the last 10 minutes thanks to tries from Amor, Turner and a penalty from Percival.

Towards the end of the month, Josh Jones announced he had signed for Exeter Chiefs whilst Mose Masoe signalled his intention to return to the NRL with St George.

Luke Walsh also was in the news – but this time it wasn’t an injury concern. He told delighted Saints fans he had exercised his third year option and would be at the club in 2016.

Tomorrow, we review July, August and September.

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