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Saints Need Ball Respect

Sean Long says Saints need to respect the ball if they harbour any hope of beating Hull FC on Saturday.

Saints travel to the Magic Weekend in Newcastle looking to get back on the horse after two defeats in a row – including a heavy loss at Castleford.

But they won’t stand a chance of doing that if they don’t go back to basics.

“We were disappointed with the performance at Castleford,” he said. “We are gutted we are out of the Cup and for the fans that paid good money to go over to Cas. We put in our worst performance of the season.

“The good thing is we can start to put it right this week. The boys have responded well to our sessions this week and seem upbeat.

“When things aren’t going great it is a vicious circle. We have to get the boys believing in themselves a little more. A few good wins breeds confidence.

“Cas are blowing teams away and we knew we would be up against. But we should have played a lot better. Credit to them, they were good, but it wasn’t good enough and we need to fix a lot of things up.

“We need a performance and from that comes belief. We’re focusing on getting the small things right. We are going back to basics; stripping it right back rather than over complicating things.”

He continued: “Last time we played Hull we turned over loads of ball. If we had kept hold of it at certain periods we would have got that game. At the back end we were coming home with a wet sail but couldn’t get over the line.

“We know it will be a tough game but we have to respect the ball a little more and go back to basics. It is a big game and we are looking forward to it.

“Mahe Fonua and their backs set the platform for the forwards and then Marc Sneyd, with his kicking game, and Albert Kelly, with his running game do the rest. They are a dangerous team.”

Long says Saints new head coach Justin Holbrook should arrive in the country in time to travel over with the squad.

“Justin should be here for the game and will oversee things,” he added. “He has told us to keep things ticking over, get the boys coming to training with a smile on their faces and stick with the same team so he can take a look at everyone.

“It’s an added incentive for the boys to play well. They are playing for their jerseys. I think the boys need a lift and they should get a boost this week.

“If we can get a couple of wins then in the next couple of weeks we will be a different side altogether. It is all about belief. Once you get one win then another will come.

“We’re on a big stage this week, in front of 40,000 people and it will be a good atmosphere. There is no better time to get the win.”

Ticket details for the game can be found here. They will be available on gameday.

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