ROYCE Simmons reckons this Friday’s Super League clash with Huddersfield Giants will be a real test of mental strength for his side.Saints were edged by Wigan in the Carnegie Challenge Cup on Saturday and have a short turnaround to prepare for the visit of Nathan Brown’s team.Both sides are separated by just a point too – adding more spice to the contest.“We’re all very disappointed about the match and now have to put that game behind us and get on with the Huddersfield match this Friday,” Simmons said. “We were all gutted we haven’t beaten Wigan. Even though we had senior players injured and they were very courageous to play we still thought we would win.“We defended so well for so long but two of their tries came from dummy half and that is basic stuff. We had good defence on the edges and controlled them well but let in a couple of soft tries.“We missed a few opportunities in the first half because our execution wasn’t quite right. You only get a couple of opportunities when you play a side like Wigan and you have to take them.“We have reviewed the match and have looked at the positives we can take from it. If we had selected our pass a little better we could have scored in the first half and that would have made a big difference.“But we now need to move on. As a coach you worry about if the players are deflated from the game – especially as we have a short turnaround. If we still feel sorry for ourselves we are going to go down the tube two weeks in a row.“But I think we are tough enough to deal with defeats like this. We have players here who have been there and done it. Some have won cups and Grand Finals… we aren’t a team of rookies after all.“Myself as a coach I have been there before too and done it. I can’t mope about the place; I need to get going and get the lads going too. We need to be mentally tough and good to go again. But we know it will be a real test of character for our side.“They took themselves to the heights to prepare to play a team like Wigan and they have to do it again.”He continued: “We have a lot to play for this week. We can be down and disappointed or we can say we are playing this week and it’s Paul Wellens’ 400 game for the club; a bloke that all the players love playing with as he competes every time he goes out on the field.“I can’t get my head around playing 400 games. I played about 250 and I can’t walk! He has played so long for one club and been part of so many victories, cups and Grand Finals. That alone should be enough for the boys to bust their arses to get the win.“There’s also the chance for third spot and we are on SKY TV too. It is the chance to show people around the world what a great rugby league side we have here.“I’d like to thank all the supporters for turning up at Warrington like they did and the atmosphere they brought, it was tremendous and the players appreciated it.“I know they have spent a lot of money and have to travel to Widnes but I think we should have a big big lot of that stadium full for when a guy like Paul Wellens plays his 400th game.“I know it is hard back to back to pay for tickets and things like that, but I just think it is a very special moment that should be celebrated.“It is very special and it would be good if we could have a great atmosphere there with a lot of people there.”Although James Graham and James Roby played injured last week – both are expected to play against Huddersfield on Friday after their problems began to ease.But Jonny Lomax, Chris Flannery and Tommy Makinson won’t feature as they suffered dead legs in the defeat.Kyle Eastmond won’t be back either as he has a groin problem.“Tom Armstrong – he’s been on the dual register at Leigh – will come and play for us and Andy Dixon will come into contention,” Simmons added. “Gary Wheeler came through his under 20s test last week – his first game back for 14/15 weeks – and he will come into contention for selection on the bench. Lee Gaskell naturally will be the half to come back in.“James Graham is a bit better this week too – his back as I said wasn’t too great last week and he has had concussion as well. I have spoken to Stuart Cummings as he is copping a few around the melon from game to game.“I asked him to have a little look at it and they said they are on to it.”Tickets for Friday’s game are now on sale from the Saints Ticket Office in St Helens Town Centre, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on to www.saintssuperstore.com
ROYCE Simmons expected a hard battle at London Broncos and got one as Saints came out on top 34-24 at the Stoop on Saturday afternoon.The lead changed hands several times before James Roby popped up five minutes from time to seal an opening day win.“It was a hard battle,” Simmons said. “They’ve recruited well in the off season and have two good hookers and a really good pack of forwards. I thought the conditions suited them as they would like to get us into a forward battle. Added to that their ball completion in the first half was sensational as was their kicking game too.“We had to pull ourselves together to get out of it. Our kicking game wasn’t as long as it should have been and that meant they were bringing the ball back because our on field position wasn’t great.“But in the end we got some repeat sets in the second half and that won us the game really.”He continued: “Our play the balls weren’t the best and that was because we ran one out a little bit and that meant they could put men in the tackle and slow the ball down. We know we have a lot of work ahead of us.“I thought Andy Dixon went well – he’s worked hard in his game and has brought a lot of extras to his game. He’s running a good lines, is bending his back and is straightening people up in his defence.“The new signings did well and they are continuing to learn the way our team plays. Anthony Laffranchi put in a lot of good carries and like Mark Flanagan does the little things right. They tackle well and don’t give away a lot of penalties.“Lance has been playing hooker in the NRL and has been training at half with us and doing a lot of kicking. Paul Wellens wasn’t quite ready today so he moved to full back and he’s catching bombs. His adaptability is very valuable to us.”
THE Fourth Annual St Helens Autism Support Bike Ride will get underway tomorrow when a team of 15 will be jetting off to Amsterdam to commence this year’s challenge.The trip starts with the team pedalling out of Amsterdam in Holland before they head south to cross the bridges in the cities of Arnhem and Nijmegen.It will then continue to Rotterdam where a ferry will then take them to Hull to complete the UK leg back to St Helens.The trip of around 340 miles will be completed on Bank Holiday Monday when the cyclists will be greeted by family and supporters back at the Gerrard Arms. The team is hoping to raise as much money as possible to benefit those locally who have a diagnosis on the Autistic Spectrum.St. Helens Autism Support is a registered charity started in February 2013.Its aim is to raise funds and awareness of Autism and the implications of the condition, and to support initiatives that will improve life chances for people diagnosed with the condition.This year’s goals include the development of a central Community Centre in St Helens, which will be specifically tailored to support the autistic community of St Helens and to offer guidance and assistance to their families and carers.Previous initiatives have included the provision of iPads and similar devices to children in the borough affected by Autism.With the funds raised from this event and the kind donation and partnership formed with the Saints, SaS are hoping to make the Community Centre a reality.
SAINTS welcome Castleford Tigers to the Totally Wicked Stadium this afternoon in a Round 10 Betfred Super League clash.The game kicks off at 3pm and you can follow it live with us.For all the very latest from the match log on to our Official Match Centre.You can interact with like-minded fans across the globe at our Official Facebook Page and don’t forget to follow us @saints1890 on Twitter.#saintsasone
Justin Holbrook’s side will take on Widnes Vikings at St James’ Park, Newcastle, on Saturday May 19 (3pm).The match will kick off the annual jamboree which sees six games take place in one venue over two days.Saints will be hoping for a Magic return after beating Hull FC 45-0 at the event in 2017; Holbrook’s first game in charge.Magic Weekend has been held in Newcastle every year since 2015 and has drawn in the three highest attendances for the weekend since the event began in 2007.Saturday’s other games see Castleford Tigers take on Leeds Rhinos (7:30pm) following Wigan’s game with Warrington at 5:15pm.Salford Red Devils and Catalans Dragons will kick off the second day when they go head-to-head for the first time in the event’s history at 1.00pm.Wakefield Trinity then take on Huddersfield Giants at 3.15pm, before Hull KR make their highly anticipated return to Magic Weekend against derby rivals Hull FC, bringing the curtain down on an action-packed weekend at 5.30pm.Tickets for the Magic Weekend in Newcastle are now on sale – with 2018 Members receiving a 50 per cent discount on prices.They are priced at:Members:Daily: £19 (adult), £9.50 (conc) – East Stand / £12.50 & £6.25 – Leazes Stand. Weekend: £28 & £14 – East Stand / £20 & £10 – Leazes Stand.Non-Members:Daily: £38 & £19 – East Stand / £25 & £12.50 – Leazes Stand. Weekend: £56 & £28 – East Stand / £40 & £20 – Leazes Stand.Coach travel is available priced at £22.50 for 2018 Members and £23.50 for Non-Members. It will leave the Totally Wicked Stadium at 9am.Tickets are now on sale form the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.Fixtures:Saturday May 19 Widnes Vikings v St Helens (15.00) Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves (17.15) Castleford Tigers v Leeds Rhinos (19.30)Sunday May 20 Salford Red Devils v Catalans Dragons (13.00) Wakefield Trinity v Huddersfield Giants (15.15) Hull KR v Hull FC (17.30)