Cunningham feeling vindicated by Saints’ win over Wigan

Keiron Cunningham believes that the confidence he has shown in his players in recent weeks has been justified by their results.

While it looked as if Saints were faltering just a few weeks back, they have rediscovered the winning habit, and now sit fourth in the table, level with Huddersfield on 38 points.

Wigan and Leeds are also tied up in second and first respectively on 39 points, with the teams squeezing each other as the semi-finals approach.

“Great clubs just don’t fall off the edge of a cliff,” said Cunningham.

“That’s not what happens. You work hard and get back on the horse, as they say. That’s what we’ve been doing.

“Everybody sees results, they don’t see performances. As a coach, I’m paid to see performances.

“That’s what I saw against Huddersfield. The difference between the Hull game and the Huddersfield game was chalk and cheese, and I knew that we weren’t far off.

“I kept telling everybody and they were laughing at me, saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, here he goes again.’

“And then we go to Leeds, and then we go to Cas, and then we beat Wigan, and now it’s a different story.

“Everybody’s standing up and taking account of us again, after everybody had written us off.

“It’s been proven to me that hard work does pay off.”

St Helens beat local rivals Wigan in a thriller on Friday evening at Langtree Park, winnng 18-14 in a thriller.

Cunningham enjoyed the result, even though the game itself was stressful from a coach’s point of view.

“It was a bit of a grandstand finish,” he said.

“A bit like a boxing match. We absorbed everything and then we came back with our own counterpunch, and we got the points in the end.

“It was a typical Saints – Wigan match. All year there’s not been many points between us.

“I think if you look at the last game we played at our place, Matty Bowen put a couple of balls down at the end of the game and the scoreline blew out by 12 or 14 points, but before that it was really tight.

“It was the same at their place. They got a try right at the end of the game which changed it, but before that it was 6-4, or something along those lines.

“To have just four points in it again is testament to both clubs defensively, and testament to both clubs in terms of where we are as clubs, fighting for these final positions in this run-in to the league.

“I was more than happy that we hung in there, in the manner that we did, and the way we fought for each other.”

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