How luck, courage and Walsh kept Saints' Challenge Cup dreams alive

Tommy Makinson's second half try brought Saints back into the tie

Tommy Makinson's second half try brought Saints back into the tie

First published in Sport

LADY luck, courage and the boot of Luke Walsh all played a key part in Saints edging a controversial and dramatic Challenge Cup fourth round tie 16-17 at Huddersfield, says coach Nathan Brown.

The Saints coach was a relieved man after the final whistle, while his counterpart Paul Anderson was furious at Phil Bentham’s decision to rule out a drop goal effort by Danny Brough.

The kick was adjudged to have gone wide by Bentham but television replays from behind the posts – which were not used by the officials - appeared to show Brough had struck a decisive one-pointer.

Saints then drove down the other end of the field and Walsh’s sweetly struck drop kick sailed between the uprights.

Speaking afterwards, Brown said: "Lady luck has shone on us today.

"The Brett Ferres sending off had an impact on the result, there is no doubt about that. We had a few players who were below par today."

"Our ball control was shocking in the first 20 minutes, but we were marching down the field comfortably.

“Willie Manu was causing them all sorts of trouble.

"We got two tries and nearly got another where Willie appeared to be brought down before he had the ball, so that was a tougher call there.

"But for a period after that our kicking game was ordinary and our ruck defence around the middle was not there, with Huddersfield all over us there for a 20 minute period before half time.

"They really dominated us there for a period.

"We did improve that area in the second half.

"We had a lot of players who haven't trained for three weeks and not played. They were definitely short of training and playing time - that is not an excuse.

"To get our name in the hat is great and we will have to do a little bit better next time."

For the second week in a row Saints showed guts and character to secure the spoils at the death and preserve their eight-match winning start to the season.

Brown, who conceded that Ferres’s dangerous challenge on Jonny Lomax that led to the Huddersfield’s dismal in the final quarter had changed the course of the tie, added: "Without singling out anyone as a group we did not come up after some terrific performance against some adversity.

"The thing I was most pleased with was the last five minutes when we charged down Broughy's first three drop goals.

"The commitment and courage they showed at the end was brilliant."

On Walsh, who looked off the pace at times, after his injury three weeks ago, Brown said: "At the end of the day, if Walshy doesn't play, we don't win.

"He kicks the goal from the sidelines and then kicks the field goal under lot of pressure.

"That is probably why he is here. You need the players in your team to get the result you need."

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