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Super League: Nathan Brown calls for consistency from St Helens after Wigan win
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Nathan Brown believes the next month will be crucial in St Helens' Super League bid and has called on his players to back up their 16-12 victory over reigning champions Wigan Warriors.
Saints made the short trip to the DW Stadium as league leaders on Friday night and their advantage at the summit was extended after they edged a thrilling derby win.
Tommy Makinson became Super League’s leading try scorer with his 16th and 17th scores of the season and veteran Paul Wellens also crossed, while there were two crucial goals in testing conditions from Mark Percival.
It was a high-octane, intense affair which ebbed and flowed and Saints head coach Brown was delighted to see his side match the defending Super League and Challenge Cup champions physically.
“I just thought physically we competed hard with them,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s not to say we won that battle, I thought that was quite even.
“At the end of the day I thought they won that battle last time we played each other and, today, it wasn’t that we won it today, but we certainly didn’t lose it.”
Victory sees Saints move four points clear of their rivals and extend their advantage over second-placed Leeds Rhinos, who face Castleford Tigers on Sunday, to three points.
“It’s a tight competition at the moment,” Brown admitted. “At the end of the day you can lose one or two and you end up a spot where it doesn’t look as good or you can win a few and all of a sudden you’re in a great spot.”
Despite acknowledging the significance of gaining the upper hand on their rivals, Brown was quick to reiterate his desire to see Saints build on their performance in weeks to come.
Point to prove
“It all depends on how we back this up over the next four or five weeks,” he added.
“There is no point in coming today and putting in a good performance against Wigan to then put in a few bad ones.
“At this stage, tonight’s results looks really important, but it will be over the next month that we can prove ourselves.”
It was a second defeat in as many weeks for Wigan, who were beaten by Wakefield last Sunday, but their coach Shaun Wane was eager to accentuate the positives while adhering to his “no excuses” policy.
“I’m proud of the players and the effort they put in,” Wane explained.
“I have to commend the players, they had a real dig at St Helens but they turned out after half time with loads of energy and that took a lot out of us.
“Our players had a dig and stayed with them to the end, if a couple decisions would have gone our way it could have been a different game but St Helens are a great team and I commend them on that win.”
A trip to face bottom side London Broncos in round 19 presents Wigan with the perfect opportunity to rediscover form and Wane insists they will seize their chance in the capital.
“We’ll stay positive,” he said. “We’ll go to London really positive next week. We have a squad of 35 people and we will use them all and there are no excuses.
“The best team won tonight and we have no excuses at all, but we’ll regroup, train hard and go to London and perform, I promise you that.”Super League. Click here to bet.
Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||21||18|
|10||Salford Red Devils||21||17|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||21||2|
|Thursday 24th July|
|20:00||Hull vs Castleford|
|Friday 25th July|
|20:00||Salford vs Leeds|
|20:00||St Helens vs Widnes|
|Saturday 26th July|
|15:00||London Broncos vs Hull K R|
|Sunday 27th July|
|15:00||Bradford vs Wigan|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Catalan Dragons|
|15:00||Warrington vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 31st July|
|20:00||Wigan vs Salford|
|Friday 1st August|
|20:00||Hull vs St Helens|
|20:00||Leeds vs Bradford|
|Sunday 20th July|
|Hull K R 18 - 38 Salford|
|Huddersfield 52 - 26 Bradford|
|Saturday 19th July|
|Catalan Dragons 40 - 6 Wakefield|
|London Broncos 16 - 58 St Helens|
|Friday 18th July|
|Wigan 56 - 10 Hull|
|Widnes 28 - 14 Warrington|
|Thursday 17th July|
|Leeds 24 - 24 Castleford|
|Sunday 13th July|
|Warrington 72 - 12 London Broncos|
|Saturday 12th July|
|Catalan Dragons 16 - 37 Wigan|
|Salford 35 - 22 Hull|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Stevo with skysports.com