Saints count the cost

Injuries take the gloss of Saints revival

Last updated: 3rd March 2008   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Saints count the cost

Anderson: 'It's a battle'

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St Helens coach Daniel Anderson was relieved after his side fought back to beat Wakefield but dismayed after they picked up more injuries.

Last season's Grand Final runners-up came back to beat the Wildcats 34-30 at Knowsley Road with a thrilling late revival.

However, they had to do so without former Great Britain captain Paul Sculthorpe, who lasted just over half an hour.

Scrum-half Sean Long also departed early with a knee injury which is set to keep him out of action for up to three weeks.

With five forwards already on the injury list, Saints also lost second rower Lee Gilmour with a head knock and full-back Paul Wellens played most of the second half at loose forward.

Anderson was forced to include two 18-year-olds, Gareth Frodsham and Kyle Eastmond, in his 17-man squad and kept young prop James Graham on the field for the full 80 minutes.

Long absence

"It's a battle for us," Anderson said. "We lost Longy in the last tackle of the match with a knee injury. It's not serious but I don't think we'll see him for two or three weeks.

"Scully experienced some tightening in his hamstring so I'm not sure where we are with him."

Saints made a dream start with two tries in the first 10 minutes through Leon Pryce and Wellens but Wakefield battled back, taking advantage of a series of errors by the home side, and led 30-18 after 55 minutes.

"We made a rod for our own back," added Anderson. "We were really sloppy at times.

"At times, we were just not in the game. I can't explain it, it was one of those games. I'm just happy to get the points.

"I thought Wakefield were very professional and came up with some classy finishing. They certainly made the most of their opportunities."

Wakefield scored tries through Sean Gleeson, Jamie Rooney, Adam Watene, Sam Obst and Brett Ferres, all converted by Danny Brough, but were denied by Wellens' second try four minutes from the end.

Cruel

Long's speculative kick was hacked on by winger Francis Meli and, after the ball bounced up kindly into his hands, he sent Wellens over for the match-winner.

"It's a cruel game at times," said Wakefield coach John Kear. "I thought the players dug in for each other, especially after going 12-0 down so early on, and showed some character.

"The last try was fortunate to say the least. The ricochet could just as easily have gone into our hands instead of theirs and we would have been smiling and they would have been frowning.

"It was a typical Saints' seat-of-your-pants try. It was a good game for the neutrals but we are very disappointed by the manner of the defeat because I thought we deserved something out of the game."

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