Brown proud of side despite loss

Published: Saturday 13th September 2014 by The News Editor

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St Helens coach Nathan Brown described it as “the best loss I’ve ever been involved in” after his 12-man team went down 17-16 in a thrilling Super League clash at his old club Huddersfield.

Needing a point to wrap up the League Leaders’ Shield at the second attempt, Saints looked to have the trophy in the bag when they led 10-0 thanks to tries from Tom Makinson and James Roby but the game turned on 28 minutes when prop Alex Walmsley was sent off for a high and late tackle on Giants scrum-half Luke Robinson.

Huddersfield made use of their man advantage to go 16-10 in front courtesy of tries from Jake Connor, Shaun Lunt and Leroy Cudjoe and, although Saints struck back to level thanks to Lance Hohaia’s converted try, the Yorkshiremen claimed both points with Cudjoe’s drop goal 10 minutes from the end.

Brown said he did not have a clear view of Walmsley’s challenge on Robinson but had no doubt the dismissal influenced the outcome of the match.

“If Alex’s first point of contact is with the head, then it’s deserved, if he hasn’t made contact with the head, then it’s not a good decision,” Brown said. “I couldn’t tell from where I was sat.

“But we all knew where that game was heading at that point. We were doing pretty well.

“The boys were super, to play nearly 60 minutes with 12 men. I don’t think anyone can be disappointed with what they did out there tonight. It’s certainly the best loss I’ve ever been involved with.”

The result was greeted with joy by the sprinkling of Castleford fans at the John Smith’s Stadium for their team will secure a top-table finish for the first time in their 88-year history if they beat Catalan Dragons in their last match of the regular season in Perpignan on Saturday evening.

“Obviously we would have liked to have won and got the League Leaders Shield tonight but unfortunately it wasn’t to be,” Brown said. “What will happen tomorrow is going to happen but, if the guys keep bringing that commitment, I’m sure we will give ourselves some sort of chance of doing well.”

Already without Jon Wilkin, Jonny Lomax, Luke Walsh and Shannon McDonnell through injury, Saints had winger Matty Dawson carried off on a stretcher in the second half.

“He had some numbness in his shoulder so he needs to go and be checked out,” Brown said.

Huddersfield’s victory, which clinched a top-four finish, was secured without skipper Danny Brough, as well as full-back Scott Grix and prop Eorl Crabtree, because of injury, and coach Paul Anderson was delighted with his team’s efforts and especially those of 19-year-old stand-off Jake Connor.

“I thought our attitude was outstanding,” Anderson said. “With the people we had missing and losing Robbo, it was hard but our effort was good.

“I thought Saints were good as well, they kept coming with 12 men. I thought our composure to keep calm was pretty good and our kicking game and kick-chase was very good.

“It’s hard to hand out individual praise but Jake Connor keeps doing the good stuff, He’s an immense talent, we’ve got a good player on our hands.”

Anderson expects to have all his injured men back for the first round of the play-offs next weekend.

Published: Saturday 13th September 2014 by The News Editor

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