Send us news by text, start your message Star News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Fan focus: How big Mal Meninga got Dom hooked on the Saints
3:13pm Friday 7th September 2012 in Latest News
DOM McCormack caught the Saints bug when he was taken to Knowsley Road as a youngster one October afternoon.
That clash with Castleford was no ordinary game – it was of course Big Mal Meninga’s debut in the red chevron in October 1984 – and he has been a die-hard ever since, following his team to the other side of the globe when necessary.
Dom said: “I will never forget seeing the inside of Knowsley Road for the first time, entering the terracing from the small entrance at the very back of the Edington End and my eyes quickly zipping round each player warming up on the pitch to catch my very first glimpse of this 'Mal Meninga' guy who had been built up at school to be a monster. They were right!”
The accessibility of other local legends on his doorstep was one of the big things that helped Dom, then aged just 10-years-old, stay hooked.
“ The fact that it was accessible and it meant something to me being from St Helens, so pride I suppose. I loved Liverpool and Kenny Dalglish because they were the closest football team to St Helens and happened to be all over the telly and the best team in the world.
“But even at that age, there was no attachment to Liverpool because I wasn't from there. I was from St Helens and so this was my team,” he said.
Dom, who has recently published a book capturing the Last Days of Knowsley Road with his camera, has packed plenty into his time watching the Saints – editing the early Marching In fanzine and then using his design skills to rebrand the club’s crest at the outset of Super League.
He has plenty of good memories from that time – even in defeat.
“My best memory? Going to Wembley with my dad and two brothers in 1987 was just an incredible experience. The whole idea of, in those days, 25,000 Saints fans all in one place, stood in one end was phenomenal.
“It’s as clear in my mind today as the day it happened. But I reckon beating Brisbane in 2007 was the best. The culmination of 10 years of dominance in the game, the 2006 all conquering squad that won everything, beat the kings of Brisbane in a white hot atmosphere at the Reebok.
“Sculthorpe had been plagued by injury but the reaction from the fans when he came on as sub and the subsequent reaction from Scully to put in a man of the match performance was something of dreams,” he said.
Of course there have been bad days too – but he lists the game that ultimately cost Saints the title as down there with the worst.
Dom said: “In November 1992 we lost 11-6 to a Tim Street inspired Leigh side who for the rest of the season were the worst team in the League.
“It effectively meant that our semi professional outfit of brickies and windowcleaners pushed the fully professional pie eaters all the way but lost the league on points difference. The most memorable thing from that evening has to be the weather. I couldn't feel the left hand side of my face for the hail stone.”
Favourite 13: 1. Paul Wellens.
2. Alan Hunte.
3. Paul Newlove.
4. Mal Meninga.
5. Darren Albert.
6. Tommy Martyn.
7. Bobby Goulding.
8. Kevin Ward.
9. Keiron Cunningham.
10. David Fairleigh.
11. Chris Joynt.
12. Sonny Nickle.
13. Chris Arkwright.