Injury worries for Saints

Millward happy enough with his team's Easter campaign

Last updated: 9th April 2012   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Injury worries for Saints

Mike Rush: feels privileged to work with the current squad at St Helens

Mentally we were very strong, our determination was fantastic and their attitude at the minute is second to none.

Mike Rush
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St Helens are sweating over injuries suffered by Tony Puletua and Ade Gardner during their 18-12 victory over Castleford.

Winger Gardner was carried off on a stretcher at the start of the second half after an aerial collision with opposite number Josh Griffin.

By that stage the visitors were already without the services of Puletua at the PROBIZ Coliseum, the forward having made an early exit holding his left arm.

"It's probably too early to get a full diagnosis," caretaker coach Mike Rush said.

"Obviously TP has got a shoulder injury and with Ade we're not sure yet to be honest."

Less concerned

Saints also lost Gary Wheeler in the second half, although Rush appeared less concerned by the nature of the 22-year-old's injury.

"Gary just pulled up - I'm not sure whether it's his hamstring," he added. "I'm not sure how bad it is, it could be something or nothing really."

The injuries soured the afternoon for Saints, who bounced back from their Good Friday loss to rivals Wigan with a hard-fought win on their travels.

The visitors were made to work hard, however, as Castleford piled on the pressure in the closing stages after reducing their arrears to six points through Brett Ferres' second try of the game.

"Mentally we were very strong, our determination was fantastic and their attitude at the minute is second to none," Rush said of the game.

"Both myself and Keiron Cunningham are privileged to have a group of players that are willing to keep digging in week in, week out.

"To get beat by your arch rivals is hard, personally I struggled on Saturday morning, of course I did. So for the players to back up and do what they've done today defensively and keep banging their shoulder in (was superb).

"I think three times we probably defended up of 18 tackles and in the last five minutes I think we probably defended 24 tackles, so what can you say?"

Tigers coach Ian Millward was not too disappointed in defeat - the hosts were without a plethora of first-team regulars including half-back pairing Danny Orr and Rangi Chase.

Proud

"It was very, very close. I'm very proud of the players and their attitude," he said.

"Their defence was quite outstanding today, but unfortunately we came up with a couple of errors and they picked the ball up from two of them and scored points from it.

"I don't think that was a reflection on how tough we played. We probably lacked a bit of a cutting edge down on the try line because of some of the key players we had out.

"When you take out your four key attacking players - your full-back (Richard) Owen, your two halves (Danny) Orr and Rangi Chase, and then Daryl Clark - it does have an effect. But I can't question anything about the players' performance, their attitude or their desire to win.

"It was very close to being a drawn-up game."

With a spirited performance in a losing cause coming off the back of a derby win over Wakefield, Millward was pleased with his side's Easter campaign.

"The weekend's been pretty good for us," he added.

"We had a great win against Wakefield and on top of that a very good performance here, and also the players who got an opportunity today have done themselves really proud."

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