SAINTS had bounced through the first half of the year – and had their first trip to Wembley since 2008 very much in their sights.

An emphatic 40-12 win at Hull FC was followed by a home rout of champions Wigan, the 32-10 triumph in which Tommy Makinson grabbed a brace completed a clean-sweep of league wins over the Warriors.

They did pick up one significant injury – with Lachlan Coote coming off with a knee problem which would have more impact than anyone would have realised at the time.

Saints continued to win without him – apart from their second loss in London when they sent a youthful reserve team – but had to make adjustments.

They battled past a stubborn Halifax at Bolton to reach Wembley, followed by further league wins over Wakefield, Warrington and Leeds.

The latter of those games saw Matty Lees suffer an horrific perforated bowel that ended his season.

Although Saints had coped with injuries sustained by Alex Walmsley, Morgan Knowles, James Roby and Coote – all were struggling for match fitness in the baking heat of Wembley.

The day did not go Saints’ way and unravelled after they had an early Knowles try disallowed.

They ended up chasing the game, making awful errors, going down 18-4 to the Wolves.

The following week they dug deep, and with the crowd’s backing got the show back on the road with a 4-0 win over Castleford.