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Saints review of the season: Saints fall short after late season flourish
11:20am Saturday 6th October 2012 in Latest News
That was the trigger for Saints to switch on their defensive efforts and comfortable wins over Castleford and London, who were nilled, followed.
Saints finally got one over Wigan, spoiling the Warriors league leaders presentation party with a comfortable 28-16 win at a packed DW Stadium.
Not even the presence of Jason Robinson, Andy and Owen Farrell, and Bradley Wiggins in the stands could inspire the home side to victory after they had lost hooker Michael McIlorum for a shocking late, high tackle on Anthony Laffranchi.
It meant that Saints finished third and fairly bounced into the Halliwell Jones the week after where they physically mastered the Cup winners in the middle of the field.
Try scorer Sia Soliola was the inspiration as Saints racked up a 28-6 win with tries coming from a Tommy Makinson brace, Francis Meli and James Roby.
It booked a week off and a home draw against the same opposition at Langtree Park.
Saints bossed the opening exchanges and took a 14-6 lead, which should have been greater given their early dominance.
However a sucker punch just before the break allowed the visitors an undeserved toe-hold in the game and in the second half the Wolves gained the ascendancy with Saints finding it difficult to break that momentum.
So for the first time since 2005, that brought down the curtain one week early on a Saints season that although trophyless saw Rush and Cunningham put some building blocks in place and salvage something from a disastrous start.
One the face of it two wins out of two against Leeds, a share of the spoils with Warrington and finally getting a victory over Wigan at the fourth time of asking showed Saints can beat the big boys – they were simply missing that ingredient X and stroke of luck when it came to the absolute crunch.
Next year, with Nathan Brown at the helm and Willie Manu and Jordan Turner brought in to add some strike to their attack Saints will be up their challenging for the silverware once again.