THE two men behind the production of the documentary of Saints’ 2023 World Club Challenge success in Australia have described how and why they put the film together.

After more than a month of being shown on Saints TV, the Saints Down Under: History Makers is now being shown by Sky Sports to coincide with the World Club Challenge match between Wigan Warriors and Penrith Panthers on Saturday.

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It was well-received when it was shown last night and will also be broadcast  tonight on Sky Sport and be available on-demand through Sky.

The 90-minute film is the work of the club’s Digital Content Executive Josh Howard and Head of Media and Content Tom Maguire, who have both been delighted with the product and the response to it.

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Explaining the reasons behind making the film Maguire said: “The purpose of the documentary was to give the fans an insight and a behind-the-scenes look at something they've never really had before.

“And secondly it was to create something for the players and the staff. In 20 years’ time Paul Wellens, James Roby and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook will be able to go back and watch this and remember how happened and how we prepared for the biggest club game there is.”

The pair planned the documentary in advance – long before they boarded the bus from the stadium to take them to the airport at 5am on a cold January morning.

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Maguire said: “I structured interviews with players in different locations and at different times so that we would give people a flavour of the entire trip, not just in front of a press board or on the pitch side after a game.

“Josh is an incredibly talented videographer and video editor, and we are very fortunate to have someone who's so fantastic with production.

“It is a masterpiece and I hope fans view it as such.”

Viewers have given their feedback on the piece with some talk of goosebumps in some places and eyes filling up on others, but the making of it has left its mark on the team making it too.

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Maguire, who conducted the player interviews, said: “The chat I had with Robes after the game was one that will stay with me forever.

“For all he had achieved and all he had done he gave such wonderful answers, which were the epitome of what James Roby is – humble, and thankful to the fans who had travelled over.”

Josh Howard explained how by being everywhere he managed to get up to an hour of footage every day to work with.

Some of that, like training with Sydney Swans or when James Graham arrived, went out at the time but there were things that the producers deliberately kept back for this film.

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Howard explained: “There's a bit in the film, where the lads are being put through their paces on the third day of training, that was a bit different.

“Usually, you don't see the lads absolutely blowing like that because it's not really the best look.

“But in a film where you're looking at things in a bit more detail, we thought it's sort of things that fans want to see.”

The film sees interviews interspersed with training footage and team talks plus the use of different techniques, like the use of word cards, to build the story.

Even though viewers will have had to have been living under a rock to not know the final result, there is still a build-up of tension.

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Howard explained: “The fact that the North Sydney Bears did so well against us in the opposed session helped build that jeopardy into it.

“We used the word cards – the dictionary definitions used throughout - to keep hammering home that people thought it was an impossible task.

“The goal was always to push the element of nobody gave us a chance, but the Bears doing well against us helped add to that jeopardy.

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“Making a film like this where everyone knows what's happened is not an easy thing, but the game itself was a massive advert for rugby league and the way that the lads played is the bread and butter of what made the documentary.”

There are some real highlights in the piece, particularly coach Paul Wellens pre-match teamtalk that referenced the club’s 150-year history and made the hairs stand up on the back of all listeners necks.

“Wello is so good at that element of bringing the lads up and fire them up but that pre-game was fantastic and I had to sit there with the microphone on top of the camera, stay silent and stay still.

“To do that and not make any noise was very difficult. I knew as soon as soon as he started talking that segment was going to be massive for what I was doing with the film,” Howard said.