SAINTS boss Nathan Brown reviews the Wigan game in conversation with the Star’s senior sports writer Mike Critchley.
MC: Friday was some game?
NB: It was fantastic. A great atmosphere and two good teams contributed to a pretty good game and two sets of fans contributed to a great atmosphere, and did it in a good manner.
MC: Was it more important for Saints to win that one?
NB: Yes, from the point of view that Wigan won the first one and were a bit better than us in the first game when physically they dominated us.
The other day both sides had different stages where they were on top, but physically I don't think anyone won that battle.
The different stages of the game ebbed and flowed but as the scoreboard suggested it was a close game.
MC: It was pleasing to see Mose Masoe throw his weight about.
NB: It was great, Mose’s last few games in England have been his best since he has been here.
It is a culmination of things; getting over a bad injury, his fitness picking up and he’s obviously enjoying life over here. He had a great game and contributed to both ends of the game and his defence was aggressive and offence was good.
MC: Do you expect to get in lumber for your post match comments?
NB: Us coaches never do, do we? At the end of the day Waney’s number one interest is Wigan, mine is St Helens and we are both fighting hard for our team, town and club.
At the end of the day things get said and happen.
From a coach’s point of view my opinion of Waney is the same as it was before. He is a decent bloke and I have spoken to him since and I don’t think he has any issues. We are just two coaches doing our best.
I’m not a coach who has ever complained about the ref. The only thing I have had a go about in the past has been to try and limit deliberate foul play. But I was concerned going into the game and I felt we did not get the right end of the stick the other day.
It was not deliberate, refs don’t go there to have deliberately bad games – we all have off days. But it was disappointing to have it at such a big occasion.
MC: There were clearly some engineered penalties from the scrum?
NB: They got us a couple of times – but two or three years ago we were told that we could not do that. The referees need to be stronger in those situations.
It is a coach’s job to try and flaunt the rules to get the best for their team. Waney has done nothing wrong there, it was a good ploy to trap the ball – but when we got told two or three years ago.
When Peter Gentle brought it over from the Wests Tigers they said we have got to stop doing it and we did and then suddenly it gets produced in a big contest, the referee has to be the one that polices it not the coaches.
MC: They were massive penalties in the course of the game.
NB: They piggy backed them out of trouble. Were we wrong in theory? 100 per cent we were, but should we all start trapping the ball in the scrum and make the game ugly? The refs will soon crack down and say no, but that should have been cracked down on on Friday.
MC: In the way fans view sport, your reaction after the game has changed some fans view of you?
NB: I have already been informed that I have gone up in some people’s estimations.
It was a big game and it is hard not to get into the derby. It is definitely a case that the longer you are here the more you get into the hype. It was great.
We have now played each other twice now and won one apiece, but next time we play each other it will have far more significance because it will be a Grand Final or eliminator to get to Old Trafford.
At this stage it looks like we will play each other further down the track if were to maintain some form and consistency.
MC: The team reacted well to losing Luke Walsh so early in the piece?
NB: Lance has been terrific and has had a great year and Wilko is one of our most important players and has a big impact on the team.
The combination between Lance and Wilko is a proven combination and we know we have won lots of games together and know they play well together, so its not an unknown.
That can help us while Walshy is out. It worked well against a very good Wigan the other day for us to come up with enough tries.
MC: It took a big man and ball tackle to win it?
NB: We have a high opinion of Percy and it was only his third game back and we’d like to think as weeks go by he will continue improving.