Season Review – Part 3!

OUR review of the 2015 season continues with July, August and September.

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As Saints travelled to Headingley, they knew that a win would take them back to the top of the Super League table. But it wasn’t meant to be. A slow start saw the Rhinos 22-0 up; 46-18 being the final score.

With the injury crisis deepening, Saints looked to the NRL for a full back who could fill the huge void at the back. Adam Quinlan was to be the man, the Parramatta full back secured on a short-term contract and put on a plane to arrive in time for the next game.

He arrived alright, as after being in the country a matter of hours, Quinlan scored a hat-trick on debut, laying the perfect platform for a 35-34 home win against fellow top four contenders Huddersfield Giants.

Tries came a plenty from both sides, but ultimately it was a 30 yard drop goal from Walsh that sealed the deal.

Saints-Warrington clashes at the Halliwell Jones Stadium have been tense over the last few years and this one didn’t disappoint either.

With the scores tied at 14 a piece with only a couple of minutes to go, it took a superb team try, rounded off by Jordan Tuner, to break the hearts of the Warrington faithful again.

It was Saints’ third win over the Wolves this year.

Vea returned from injury, scoring a superb try as Saints beat Hull KR 52-12 at Langtree Park. Quinlan grabbed his fourth try in three games whilst Greenwood and Swift each crossed for braces to complete a comprehensive performance.

But Leeds’ third successive victory over Saints this season ended their hopes of a Challenge Cup final appearance.

More signing news came at the end of the month with Dominique Peyroux coming in on a two-year deal from 2016 – and Andre Savelio agreeing a two-year extension at the Champions.

Saints’ first game of the Super 8s saw them face a tough away match at Catalan, and despite the home side being down to 12 men, the visitors couldn’t capitalise and slipped to their second defeat in the South of France, 26-16.

Another disappointing defeat came a week later when Hull FC rolled into town. Despite tries from Thompson, Swift, Roby and Percival, five second half scores from the visiting team sealed an unlikely 32-22 victory.

Things went from bad to worse too as Huddersfield visited Langtree Park in the third round of the Super 8s and won 28-22 – but the home side’s performance gave the home support a lot of hope…

… And so it proved.

With everyone writing the Saints off, they produced a stunning display at the newly crowned Challenge Cup winners Leeds, winning 32-18. Walsh put in a sterling performance, having a hand in all Saints tries on the night, with Wilkin also capturing the headlines for his captain’s knock.

If you thought that was good, then what happened a week later at the home of the Castleford Tigers proved that this squad truly were Champions, with a superb display to win 42-38.

After cruising into an 18-0 lead, a spirited fightback from a team whose season was on the line nearly spoilt the party. With both defences shaky, attack came to the forefront and Saints sealed a huge win.

Wigan then came to Langtree Park – full of confidence knowing that a win would take them to the summit of Super League. But in true Saints style they tore up the rule book and put on a magnificent defensive display to take the spoils 18-14.

Josh Jones scored the winning try with only two minutes on the clock to notch up Saints’ third win in a row.

Due to their start of the Super 8s finishing top was always going to be tough for Cunningham’s side and so it proved with realistically only Leeds, Wigan and Huddersfield in the hunt.

That showed in the final match with Warrington as Saints showed the effects of the win over Wigan in a tired looking 32-16 loss.

September brought transfer activity to Langtree Park too with several players agreeing extensions and Theo Fages joining the club.

Matty Fleming, Oliver Davies, Dougie Charnock, Danny Richardson, Calvin Wellington, Regan Grace Morgan Knowles, Ricky Bailey, Jake Spedding and Levy Nzoungou all agreed deals.

James Roby and Alex Walmsley were named in the 2016 Dream Team too – with the latter being shortlisted for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel and winning three awards at the Club’s End of Season Dinner.

The big forward was named the Club’s Player of the Year as well as Players’ Player of the Year and Founder Members Player of the Year.

Tomorrow, we conclude our review with October, November and December.

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