TO say I’m gutted is an understatement! Obviously talking about Saints defeat to Warrington in the Betfred Super League semi.

To be the most consistent team throughout the season and again fall one game short of a major final is heartbreaking.

However, I’m sure lessons have been learnt and hopefully inspire this young side to future successes.

My own thoughts on what went wrong, firstly take nothing away from Warrington who were the better side on the day, with Stefan Ratchford and Tom Lineham leading their charge , but we looked like a side trying too hard! We played as though we had to score on every set, instead of building pressure and turning the screw on the Wire.

One example of this was our last tackle options, numerous times getting caught with the ball or executing poor last play kicks resulting in turning over ball instead of applying pressure.

This is a key part of the game, certainly this time of year as games increase in intensity and importance. However, as I’ve said I’m sure this is something that the players will learn from and be able to draw on in future situations.

It has still been a very successful year for the club and a number of players excelled in the Betfred Super League 2018. Special mention to one of these players...Luke Thompson. He just gets better and better..and I am now looking forward to him pulling on that England jersey and ripping into the Kiwis and showing them why he’s the best prop in our competition.

So, it’s Warrington who go on to face the Wigan Warriors in this years big showpiece at Old Trafford. The Warriors dominating a poor Castleford side in their semifinal, keeping the Tigers pointless in 14-0 victory. Wigan’s defence is their biggest strength, and something I believe will get them the big prize on Saturday. I’m going for a Wigan win by 6pts (6/5 at Betfred).

May the best team win!

Back to Saints, Thursdays defeat saw a couple of big names pull on the famous ‘red V’ for the final time. Jon Wilkin played his last game after an outstanding 16 year career at the club playing almost 400 games. I would personally like to congratulate my good mate Wilko on a fabulous career, having played a big part in the clubs successes over the last two decades. I wish him all the very best in the next chapter whatever that entails.

The other is the newly-crowned Steve Prescott MBE ‘Man of Steel’ Ben Barba! Whatever everyone’s opinions on who should have got the award with Ben pipping James Roby and John Bateman, this is picked by his fellow Super League opposition players..and as a player there is no more rewarding recognition.

No question, be it only 12 months, he ignited the Betfred Super League with some box office performances and has left many a Saints fan with some memorable times. Again, I wish Benny and his family all the best with his return to Australia. Maybe we will meet again....