Off the Ball: You still can't beat the Challenge Cup and Wembley

St Helens Star:

6:05pm Wednesday 27th August 2014

SO THERE we have it – Leeds’ generation of golden boys have broken their Challenge Cup hoodoo and taken the first pot of the season.

Off the Ball: No shortage of rugby league books these days

St Helens Star:

12:48pm Thursday 24th July 2014

WHEN I was a kid in the 70s my mam regularly took me to Horace Street library to 'get a book on rugby'.

Why it is good for rugby league to be sent to Coventry

St Helens Star: Broadcaster Jimmy Hill, pictured during his spell as Match of the Day presenter in September 1973

9:50am Friday 11th July 2014

Well I have been to prettier places, but figure any city that can spawn The Specials can’t be all that bad.

Saints name 19-man for Hull KR

2:57pm Friday 4th July 2014

SAINTS have announced their 19-man squad for Sunday's First Utility Super League clash at Hull KR.

Off the Ball: The passion of a Saints Wigan derby there for all to see and hear

St Helens Star:

1:52pm Thursday 3rd July 2014

ONLY two points like any other in the 27 rounds of Super League..... pull the other one.

World Cup will pose a challenge to Super League

St Helens Star: World Cup trophy

11:36am Thursday 5th June 2014

IT was strange seeing the away end completely empty on Friday night with the pocket of travelling Salford fans clustered in the North Stand.

There could be a silver lining if Bulls are relegated

St Helens Star: Henry and Robbie Paul, Bradford Bulls stars in the first five years of Super League

5:01pm Wednesday 28th May 2014

Do you remember Fulham's first ever game in rugby league in September 1981? The novelty value of this 'new' sport in the capital saw a near five figure gate crammed into Craven Cottage to watch the team's opening second division match.

Gimme shelter! Is a roof in Yorkshire too much to ask for?

St Helens Star: Saints fans had the four seasons at Bradford this year - but it was not as bad as some times past

10:06am Thursday 15th May 2014

ON Saturday I followed in the footsteps of my old West Park Geography teachers, Messrs Hazell and Campbell, and went for a rain-lashed four mile yomp around the Ingleton waterfalls.

Off the ball: Saints need to make a statement at Magic

St Helens Star: Lance Hohaia scoring at last year's Magic

11:10am Thursday 8th May 2014

"Only half a dozen games that really, really count and we have failed two of them."

Should we have more cups to play for?

St Helens Star: Should we have more cups to play for?

10:22am Thursday 1st May 2014

SATURDAY’S disappointing Challenge Cup exit was a sobering experience for a Saints team that had started the Super League campaign with such a bounce and high expectations.

To rest or not to rest is the big question

St Helens Star: To rest or not to rest is the big question

11:22am Thursday 24th April 2014

TO rest, or not to rest, that is the question – and the proof of the Easter pudding will be in the Headingley eating.

Off the Ball: Time to have another look at Challenge Cup schedule

St Helens Star: Centurions' coach Rowley 'chasing the dream'

3:09pm Thursday 17th April 2014

PLAYERS from days gone by really scoff at the moaning and concern about welfare that goes on at this time of year.

Rugby league missing a trick with immediate Challenge Cup draw

St Helens Star: Centurions' coach Rowley 'chasing the dream'

10:49am Friday 4th April 2014

Hopefully, Saints will be in the hat for Sunday afternoon’s Challenge Cup fifth round draw which takes place immediately after the televised game at Huddersfield.

Former Saints duo can help awaken the sleeping Cumbrian giant - but it needs a leg up

St Helens Star: Proud Cumbrian Kyle Amor

9:47am Thursday 27th March 2014

It is pleasing to see Phil Veivers back in the game, with the former Saints full back now charged with reviving the fortunes of Workington Town.

Mose's match fitness fight highlights need for A team

St Helens Star: Saints let rip with a glorious four try spell in ten golden 10 minutes

11:54am Thursday 13th March 2014

WELCOME to Super League! That was the message from the four and five Hull KR players queuing up to gang tackle big Mose Masoe last week.

Time to give rugby league nines a blast at Magic

St Helens Star: Tommy Makinson avoids touch to apply an acrobatic finish in the corner.

10:06am Thursday 27th February 2014

ANYBODY remember the British Coal Nines? Admittedly, about a quarter of our readership are wondering what coal is, especially British coal, but bear with me.

League must learn lessons of Sam Burgess code switch

St Helens Star: Sam Burgess

4:24pm Wednesday 19th February 2014

Sam Burgess was arguably one of England’s poster boys of the recent Rugby League World Cup; a player that was also pretty central to helping Steve McNamara build a team that can challenge the Australians again.

Extend free play to add excitement to rugby league

St Helens Star: Jonny Lomax - a smart player who could expolit the free play

4:09pm Wednesday 4th September 2013

As someone who has frowned, moaned and written critically at most of the add-ons, gimmicks and adornments that have changed the complexion and character of rugby league since 1996, I am glad that this week I can actually write something positive.

Comment: Nathan Brown has to be given time to mould his Saints team

St Helens Star: Nathan Brown to break new ground facing up to his former club

11:23am Thursday 4th July 2013

SAINTS’ latest home defeat was met with a fair bit of anger in town on Friday night – and that did not really abate over the weekend.

Martin Murray won't be rushed into decision on next fight

St Helens Star: Martin Murray

10:53am Thursday 16th May 2013

MARTIN Murray’s battling performance against WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez has opened plenty of doors.

Super League needs simplicity not gimmickry to make it work

10:36am Thursday 16th May 2013

LAST week the RFL came up with three possible options to revamp the league structure as part of the game’s strategy to deal with the challenges it is facing now – ones that are not going to go away.

A good time for RL fans to give Brook something in return

8:00am Saturday 30th March 2013

SAY what you want about the Super League Grand Final and set off as many fireworks you want into the sky above the Theatre of Dreams, but for me the Challenge Cup is still the trophy with all the magic.

Mattea-Jay takes four golds at championships

4:16pm Thursday 28th March 2013

RAINFORD High School pupil Mattea-Jay Oliver won four gold medals at the Lancashire County Age Group Swimming Championships.

Make Easter a derby double-header again

St Helens Star: Action from an Easter Monday fixture in the early 90s

3:08pm Wednesday 20th March 2013

EASTER is nearly upon us so get used to coaches answering the perennial old chestnut ‘Are two games in four days too much on the players?’ Everybody knows Super League is a high octane, physically demanding sport and nobody disputes it must be tough recovering from one physically and mentally demanding 80 minutes then bouncing into another after a two-day recovery.

We need to see fireworks every week, not just at Old Trafford

9:10am Friday 15th March 2013

PAY freezes, benefit caps, public sector job losses and the soon to be introduced bedroom tax – wherever you look austerity measures are squeezing family budgets hard.

World Club Challenge should remain a battle of champions

St Helens Star: Saints lift one of their two World Club Challenge trophies

7:10am Thursday 28th February 2013

LEEDS’ chief executive Gary Hetherington has been on a mission Down Under this week trying to sell this idea of an expanded World Club Challenge to the NRL clubs.

Rugby League should focus on its Ashes strengths

St Helens Star: James Roby would be a key man if a Great Britain team lined up against the Kangaroos.

11:13am Thursday 14th February 2013

PLENTY of Owen Farrell’s contemporaries from his days in junior rugby league must look on in amazement at the England fly-half’s national prominence after England’s Six Nations win over Ireland.

Just what was wrong with referees wearing black?

St Helens Star: Cliff Watson takes an early bath as Eric Chisnall, John Mantle and Kel Coslett look on

11:15am Friday 8th February 2013

HUDDERSFIELD winning on St Helens soil for the first time since November 1978 made me feel a little nostalgic about that year.

Super League needs to make the cake bigger, not one cut into fewer slices

St Helens Star: Paul Wellens and Giants skipper Danny Brough

11:27am Friday 1st February 2013

SPARE a thought for the players and coaches who attended Monday afternoon’s Super League launch at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

Off the ball - Empty seats tell us it is time to rethink play-off system

10:51am Thursday 29th September 2011

ROW upon row of empty seats at the do-or-die play off games at Huddersfield and Wigan last weekend have set a few alarm bells ringing among the rugby league followers – and hopefully administrators.

Should the team finishing top be crowned champions?

10:44am Thursday 18th August 2011

THERE are three Super League games to go – and apart from the ‘hub cap’ decider between Wigan and Warrington there is little to really get excited about.

Off the ball - Not as simple as just raising the salary cap

10:41am Thursday 28th July 2011

Anybody expecting marquee signings like Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston or Benji Marshall to be heading to Super League or to see Darren Lockyer coming for a swansong should acquaint themselves with the currency board outside the post office in Bridge Street.

Off the Ball - Reasons to be cheerful?

11:41am Thursday 21st July 2011

Off the top of my head I can think of a few periods in the last four decades at Saints where the football was poor, eighth place was a relief and silverware was little more than a daydream.

Off the Ball - communication between refs and captains vital, but let's not become like football

11:06am Thursday 14th July 2011

THE sound of Saints skipper James Graham getting it in the neck from the Wakefield fans for talking to the referee on Sunday showed that some of the seeds scattered recently are beginning to bear a bitter fruit.

Should fans be discouraged from booing?

4:54pm Wednesday 22nd June 2011

PANTO season has come early in the rugby league world this year with Wigan’s spiky little full back Sam Tomkins getting a double dose of boos in consecutive weeks.

Off the ball - A brief glimpse of that old Bradford rivalry

11:32am Thursday 16th June 2011

Does the sun ever shine in Bradford? Once again Saints fans were subjected to a relentless downpour for the entire duration Sunday’s visit to a shelterless Odsal.

Off the ball - too many games, but not enough to play for

11:33am Thursday 9th June 2011

THE fact that players the players on international duty on Friday are likely to be backing up on Sunday is nothing new.

Off the ball - Time to bring back the Ashes?

1:16pm Thursday 2nd June 2011

IT will be interesting to see how the fans respond to the England-Exiles clash, especially as it is taking place on the same weekend as a full programme of fixtures.

Off the ball - Should we interfere with natural pecking order?

1:23pm Thursday 12th May 2011

THE survival of the fittest rule of nature can be cruel at times – particularly at this time of year.

An incentive for homegown players?

12:36pm Thursday 21st April 2011

IT looks like the Big Willie Mason saga is rumbling on with the former Kangaroo now linked with a move from Hull KR to French rugby union.

132 reasons to change the Challenge Cup format

12:10pm Thursday 24th March 2011

ANYBODY else underwhelmed by last Sunday’s Challenge Cup draw?

Keep the salary cap as it is for now

10:53am Thursday 10th March 2011

WARRINGTON boss Tony Smith has called for the Super League salary cap to be increased in the light of Kyle Eastmond’s decision to defect to the 15-man code.

Eastmond has plenty to do to win over fans

St Helens Star: Kyle Eastmond

6:03pm Thursday 3rd March 2011

ON Friday night Kyle Eastmond became the first Saints player to suffer the ignominy of being booed off by home fans since Paul Davidson gave the Popular Side the Harvey Smith treatment back in 1999.

Union switch would be a big gamble for Kyle Eastmond

10:05am Thursday 24th February 2011

IT is amazing what one swallow dive can do for your career.

Fast rucks does not mean entertainment

11:30am Thursday 3rd February 2011

SAINTS' friendly against Huddersfield Giants was a bit of a shock to the system.

Worse places to be beached than Widnes

11:32am Thursday 27th January 2011

THIRTEEN years ago a confused 20-foot minke whale – dubbed Widnes Willy by the media - was beached on the sludge of the Mersey at Hale Bank before the collective efforts of the RSPCA, fire service and other volunteers saw the six-tonne mammal towed out to the Irish Sea.

COMMENT: Why new captain has got to be Wellens

12:32pm Thursday 13th January 2011

SAINTS have a big announcement to make before the month is out – the captaincy.

COMMENT: When is a forward pass forward?

St Helens Star: James Graham - gave a gritty 75 minute display

10:15am Thursday 28th February 2008

I am barely into my 40s and have spells where I think I am turning into a grumpy old man. Evidence of that came in the off-season where I grumbled to all and sundry that I did not like this game as much as I used to.

I don't want to go back to 1981

6:25pm Thursday 14th February 2008

This time last year the dust had only just settled in the more stuck-up sections of the press regarding Saints being voted BBC Sports Personality team of the year.

Comment: Let's get back to black

St Helens Star: Steve Ganson

12:06pm Friday 26th October 2007

WHEN I first started watching rugby league in the late 1970s the man in the middle was the ultimate pillar of respectability in the sports world.


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