Mid Term Report

After the abysmal performance for 50 minutes on Friday I wondered how each player should be graded on their performances this season. Looking back I may have been a bit lenient with some of our forwards – but I’ll stick with the original score given and hope they can turn average into explosive excellence.

Jonny Lomax – when will Lomax get a lucky break with injuries? It seems every time he gets a run of appearances under his belt, his body lets him down. When he’s been in possession of the number 1 jersey this season he’s been solid, if unspectacular. Unfortunately questions are being asked whether Jonny should get another contract – a strong end to the season could see those questions dismissed. Grade: B

Tommy Makinson – stepped up to cover at full back, but I can’t wait to see him back on the wing. No issues in defence but hasn’t chimed in as much as a first choice full back would. Grade: B+

Ryan Morgan – started the season really slowly, as quite a few imports do. After a brief spell out with injury he’s started looking brighter and showed tiny glimpses of what we come to expect of an Aussie centre in the number 3 shirt. Grade: C

Mark Percival – dragged down to Australia and unbelievably unpicked despite arguably being the form centre in Super League. He’s exciting on the ball, his goal kicking has improved and he’s signed a new deal. Grade: A

Adam Swift – I wonder if Swift is suffering with confidence issues. His handling hasn’t been anywhere near the standard you would expect. Has switched wings to accommodate Regan Grace and needs to step up his performances when Lomax comes back. Grade: C

Theo Fages – the mercurial Frenchman has blown hot and cold this year. I attribute this down to him playing with 3 different scrum halves, as well has having his confidence knocked when Cunningham . Now settled with Smith I’m sure he’ll be enjoying working with attacking coach Sean Long more. Grade: B+

Matty Smith – how different would the start to the season have been if Smith hadn’t had his leg broken against Widnes? He’s come back in and has been another steady, unspectacular player – exactly what we knew we were signing. His influence still needs to seep into the team, in my opinion your scrum half should be good enough to captain the side. Hopefully working under the new regime will help Matty out. Grade: C

Alex Walmsley – easily the best forward at the club. He’s looked aggressive, hungry and destructive when running. Again, it’s a mystery why he didn’t get an England cap against Samoa. Grade: A

James Roby – I’m not even going to bother writing about James Roby. You all know how good he is. Grade: A-

Kyle Amor – I didn’t even realise that Amor hadn’t been picked against Leigh until after the game. I think that completely sums up his season so far. He’s been average at best. Grade: C

Jon Wilkin – he might be plan Z at scrum half but a key defender in the side. Saints fans cheering his injury prior to the Warrington fan ought to be ashamed of themselves. I agree that he isn’t as good going forward as he used to be but he’s still influential. Grade: B

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook – hasn’t looked at home on the right of the second row, but has utility value to the team. Can give his coach a lot of minutes and probably should be utilised in the 3rd prop from loose forward role which is quite popular in Australia. Still needs to bring consistency though Grade: C

Luke Douglas – I’m not sure if I unfairly thought we’d get more straightaway from Luke Douglas, St. Helens isn’t that far from Scotland for him to settle. Like many of our forwards hasn’t shown enough and needs to step up his game in the second half of the season. Grade: C

Adam Walker – I’m not entirely sure why Cunningham signed Adam Walker – after all he likes an offload. Didn’t appear at the start of the season, but now is a regular off the bench. Grade: C+

Luke Thompson – another to smash onto the scene, whet Saints fans appetite to another big forward from the reserves. Looked like he’d fallen out of flavour with the previous coach and needs to add solid defence to his game. Grade: C

Tommy Lee – in the blog last week I said it wasn’t unfair to compare Lee to Keiron Cunningham and James Roby. Signed to be a leader, he was apparently overawed at Leigh away and has shown nothing to suggest he’s the type of player who should be wearing a Saints shirt. Grade: D

Dominique Peyroux – where to start. Fans don’t think he’s Saints calibre but he manages to make the squad most weeks. I’d imagine Peyroux is a coaches dream though. Long minutes & can play in a couple of positions. Unfortunately he can’t quite transform the dream into reality & flatters to deceive. Grade: C-

Greg Richards – has never kicked on. Should be first choice by now, but doesn’t make the metres required. Grade: D

Morgan Knowles – it isn’t Knowles’ fault he keeps being asked to stint at hooker. But he’s not a hooker. Gone under the radar this year compared to last but you know you’ll get a good work rate out of him. Grade: B-

Jack Owens – another one in the ‘why was he signed’ file. The understudy winger must now be 4th choice & looking for a move to kick start his young career. Last seen playing at stand off against England Universities for the reserves. Grade: C-

Matty Fleming – a surprise omission against Warrington, has only made 2 appearances this season. UNGRADED

Danny Richardson – harshly thrown under the bus by Cunningham after the first 3 games. He did nothing wrong, but was apparently a victim of his own birthday. Should have been left in at 7, and now probably should be on loan in the Championship to give him proper games. Grade: C

Ricky Bailey – started in January as number 2 full back, but was quickly demoted to number 3. Needs a run of games to give him a chance to show us if he’s good enough at Super League level. UNGRADED

Jake Spedding – one appearance so far – would be harsh to judge him on that. UNGRADED.

Regan Grace – a shining light for Saints this season but not flawless. There have been a few players who have been seen as the saviour from the reserves (remember the clamour to get Savelio into the first team?) but don’t expect too much too soon. Grade: B

Zeb Taia – Started like a house on fire on the feted left hand side but since then has looked to have been extinguished. Brings leadership but needs to improve on defence. Grade: B-

Report Card:

Mark Percival: A

Alex Walmsley: A

Tommy Makinson: B+

Theo Fages: B+

Jonny Lomax: B

Jon Wilkin: B

Regan Grace: B

Morgan Knowles: B-

Zeb Taia: B-

Adam Walker: C+

Ryan Morgan: C

Adam Swift: C

Matty Smith: C

Kyle Amor: C

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook: C

Luke Douglas: C

Luke Thompson: C

Danny Richardson: C

Dominique Peyroux: C-

Jack Owens: C-

Tommy Lee: D

Greg Richards: D

 

Pointless Call Ups

“…unlike Rugby Union, we don’t have the depth of squads, stars or salary cap to allow the best players to go and play (an arguably meaningless game) against Samoa while the league rumbles on.”

That was part of a blog written for this site a few weeks ago when Wayne Bennett had announced his 20 man squad for the test match played at weekend. Now I write this reflecting on a test for which 2 Saints, and one from Hull, were called up, dragged half way around the world, trained and then sat out the game. What was the point in that?

The day before the test, the Saints put in one of the worst 50 odd minutes of rugby league I’ve seen in recent times without our 2 best players this year. There’s no saying that Walmsley and Percival wouldn’t have been caught up into the utter ineptitude which swept through the 17 – but having them missing certainly didn’t help against a team who, despite missing 3 of their own, outplayed us.

You’d imagine Wayne Bennett had an idea of who was going to be selected in his 17 before they got on the plane. So why drag 3 lads down to Australia for nothing? He could’ve selected his 17, whether that includes the 2 Aussies masquerading in England shirts or not, and then looked to the NRL for any replacements due to injury. He might not particularly want to give out caps to anyone – but his choice of Australians leads me to think he’s not bothered. With Dan Sarginson Joe Greenwood & Jordan Turner all signed up in Australia couldn’t any of these have been called upon, even if just to train with the 17?

Instead 2 clubs have been shorn of players for no reason whatsoever and it does not help fans attitudes towards the international game. Back to the drawing board for the RFL.

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