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Rush philosophical after season ending defeat
10:25am Thursday 4th October 2012 in Sport
SAINTS coach Mike Rush was philosophical after seeing his side bow out at the semi-final with home defeat against Warrington on Saturday night.
Although a wave of bitter disappointment descended upon Langtree Park as the game unravelled, Rush reflected upon the way the year had been turned around from a low point in March when the team languished in ninth and looked barely capable of even qualifying for the play-offs.
Rush, in charge of his hometown team for the last time, said: “I suppose if you would have asked me I would have taken 40 minutes away from a Grand Final when we took over.”
But he could not hide his disappointment after giving his all over the past five months.
There may be plenty of mitigation, but harsh facts will state that this is the first Saints side in seven years not to reach Old Trafford, the first in 12 not to reach the Challenge Cup semi-final and the decision of England bosses to rest James Roby and injured Jon Wilkin for the autumn series against Wales and France means that it is the first time for a couple of decades that the club have nobody on international duty.
But bald statistics can be misleading, and in the credit side some decent building blocks have been put in place this term for new coach Nathan Brown to work with.
Brown, who has moved over to St Helens this week after a break in Australia, will start work at Langtree Park at the end of October.
Chairman Eamonn McManus is happy with the tools he has given his new coach to work with as Saints seek to end a four-year break without a piece of silverware.
McManus said: “Willie Manu is an exciting player, the sort that the fans will really take a liking to and he will fit in really well at this club.
“Jordan Turner is a good player who will get better.
“If you look at the competition in the outside backs next year it is going to be tremendous – at the minute Jordan will have to battle to get in the team.
“Josh Jones is now first choice centre. He has been the find of the season.
“On his debut away at Warrington he only found out an hour before kick off that he was playing, and then it looked like he had been doing it for five years when he got out there.
“He is mature beyond his years and has the strength to deal with it.”
Paying tribute to the work of Rush and his assistant Keiron Cunningham in turning the year around McManus said: “The position in March was more serious than people thought.
“It was not that we had lost four and drawn one out of the seven, the two that we won were against weak opposition and were not very convincing.
“If we had left that decision a couple of weeks more our season could have been over.”