SAINTS head over to Catalan this weekend full of confidence after their recent win over Wigan.Nathan Brown’s side has recorded four wins from five and travel to the Dragons knowing a victory will strengthen their playoff aspirations.“We know where we are as a squad and we aren’t getting carried away with recent form,” Brown said. “We have to take the confidence out of what we are doing. We need to find the balance, keep preparing well and improving as individuals and as a group.“Before we had injuries there was a five or six week period when we played quite well. But then we lost players, form and confidence. Now the last five weeks have been our best since the start of the year. Our position on the table is important, but what is more important is improving week on week.“The reality for all teams in our area on the table is we control our own destiny. I’m pretty confident the top four is nailed on and the next four spots will be determined on how well teams play and their consistency. If you play well over the next few weeks then you can put yourselves in a better position. Play badly and you risk missing out on the eight.”Catalan may have lost three of their last five matches but they are a formidable outfit at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.“They probably aren’t going as well as they were earlier in the year but they’ve had some misfortune too,” Nathan added. “They’ve had a number of close losses and wins and they have a big say on the league table. If you win a few of those close ones you could be in the top four. It also has a big impact on where you are and your confidence too.“They are a big physical team and the French guys are generally big boppers too. They have blokes in key positions who are going well.“Morgan Escare is a terrific little player, Scott Dureau is clever and Leon Pryce is well known to this club and fans. They have a well-balanced squad.“The crowd get right into it – and I have no doubt the away support will do too.”Saints reported no fresh injury concerns following the win over Wigan – with Gareth O’Brien, Jonny Lomax and Alex Walmsley all shaking off knocks.However, Brown has comfirmed that Ade Gardner won’t appear in the “short term” after his concussion back in June.
SAINTS Official Travel Partner, Hatton’s Travel, have a number of superb trips organised over the next few months.If you fancy any of the trips below then Hatton’s Travel 01744 811 818 or log on to www.hattonstravel.co.ukBury MarketNovember 16 2013 Coach included£10ppChester & Cheshire OaksNovember 26 2013 £10ppChristmas Shopper in LondonDecember 6 – 8 2013Two nights B&B @ The Hilton Canary WharfFree Time in London Friday & SaturdayVisiting Petticoat Market on Sunday£139pp based on two sharingSkipton’s Yuletide Festival & Christmas MarketSunday December 15 2013Entertainment throughout the town from 10am-4pmTorchlight procession at 4pm and Christmas Carols at Church£14ppValentines in BruggeFriday February 14 – Sunday February 16 2014Comfort stop en route to Hull Ferry PortTwo nights on board* P&O Ferries to ZeebruggeFull day in Brugge on SaturdayOn Sunday we visit York before journey home*Meal Deals on board Ferry available upon request£99pp (based on two sharing)KeukenhofFriday April 11 – Sunday April 13 2014Comfort stop en route to Hull Ferry PortTwo Nights on Board* P&O Ferries to RotterdamFull day in Keukenhof Gardens on Saturday (Entrance to Keukenhof Gardens inc.)On Sunday we visit York before journey home*Meal Deals on board Ferry available upon request£125pp (based on two sharing)100th Year Battlefields TourMay 1 – 5 2014Four nights B&B @ The Europe Hotel, OstendTwo-Day Guided Tour of the Battlefields with an experienced Tour Guide Included£269pp based on two sharingFor further information please call Hatton’s Travel 01744 811 818 or log on to www.hattonstravel.co.uk
RUGBY League fans screamed for ice cream at Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester when stars from the First Utility Super League were on hand to dish out treats ahead of Magic Weekend, which returns to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday and Sunday (May 17 and 18).Whilst the sunshine was absent, players from all 14 clubs, including Saints own Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook put a smile on the faces of hundreds of fans and shoppers in the ‘Manchester Mist’ with a hugely successful meet and greet event.Dressed in their First Utility Super League aprons and straw boater hats, the players distributed free ice creams, chatted with fans and posed for photographs ahead of the two-day Rugby League spectacular at the home of newly-crowned Premier League champions Manchester City.Magic Weekend 2014 is poised to be the best attended since it began in 2007. Tickets sales are well on course to ensure record numbers of fans are there to witness seven enthralling First Utility Super League matches across two days of jam-packed Rugby League entertainment.To see photographs from the Piccadilly Garden event please go to the Super League Facebook page.The Magic Weekend 2014 schedule:Saturday May 17:12.30 – London Broncos v Catalan Dragons2.45 – Widnes Vikings v Salford Red Devils5.00 – Hull Kingston Rovers v Hull FC7.15 – Wigan Warriors v Leeds RhinosSunday May 18:12.30 – Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Castleford Tigers2.45 – Huddersfield Giants v Bradford Bulls5.00 – Warrington Wolves v St HelensSeason Ticket Holders get 50 per cent off their tickets and they can be bought at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.
NO matter what the line-ups, where it is played or the game’s magnitude there’s no getting away from the ferocity that is the derby.Saints will travel to Wigan on Good Friday as the two old adversaries lock horns once again.Nearly 5,000 Saints fans will back the champions at the DW Stadium and head coach Keiron Cunningham can’t wait for the challenge the Warriors will present.“There is always a lot of emotion around these games and I’m sure Shaun Wane will have his crew charging,” he said. “We are excited about the game and I’m sure it will be a great spectacle.“Form doesn’t normally matter in this one nor who is playing. I was part of a full strength Saints side that lost to a weak Wigan on years back and vice versa. We’re all looking forward to it.“The mathematics around it shows it is for two points – that is all it counts for. We know it’s different for some families as there are bragging rights. That said, we want to win.“As a St Helens lad I would look out for this game and try to get to as many as possible. They are always great spectacles and the rights given by Lord Derby to call it a derby show its importance. It will be good viewing.“We won’t prepare any differently, in fact it’s probably easier for coaches as they do their jobs and the players get themselves up for the game. It’s the same for any big game – a Warrington or Leeds for example.”Saints will have a number of players missing for the clash and will once again call on the resilience that saw them pick up the Super League title – against Wigan – last year.Atelea Vea suffered a shoulder injury at Hull KR and will have more tests this week to determine how best to manage the problem. It is likely he will be unavailable for several months.Travis Burns will also be missing for some time too with several facial issues including a triple fracture of the cheekbone.Jonny Lomax will undergo exploratory surgery to find out the extent of his knee problem and the prognosis is he will be out for nine months.James Roby, Paul Wellens and Joe Greenwood are set to have late fitness tests this week to determine whether they can factor in the Good Friday clash.Keiron continued: “We were the better side at Hull KR for large periods of the game and rolled them quite easily but we weren’t on the money with our good ball attack.“We weren’t smart at times and had enough chances to be in a comfortable lead within the first stages of the game. We didn’t and Hull took their chances. We will learn from that.“Wigan are nearly there and nearly rolled Leeds at Leeds. Shaun Wane is going through transition with injuries like other teams and they look like they are playing differently. They have had a lot of success playing one way and are now evolving.“It’s hardly ideal going into such a big game without Walsh, Burns, Lomax, Percival and Vea, and with doubts over Roby, Greenwood and Wellens. It’s not just the number of injuries but the class of player missing in key positions.“However, this group of players have proven that they know how to deal with adversity, even on the biggest of occasions.”
The talismanic front rower will return to the fold to rekindle his front row partnership with Alex Walmsley.Tickets for the match are still available and are on sale from the Ticket Office, via 01744 455 052 and online here.2019 Members are able to take advantage of discounted prices for the clash with tickets starting from just £15 for Adult Members and £5 for Junior Members, up until match day, with all pricing details here.