Rush: Saints can raise their game and make Grand Final


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The Independent Online

Mike Rush, the defiant St Helens coach, insists that his side's Grand Final ambitions remain intact and he believes they can yet have the last laugh on Wigan.

Saints are smarting from last Sunday's 42-16 defeat by the Warriors in Manchester, a third loss to their arch- rivals in two months, which left them sixth in the Stobart Super League just after the halfway mark.

However, Rush, Saints' acting head coach who takes his team to Hull tomorrow, is urging the club's fans not to lose faith as he looks to keep alive prospects of a seventh consecutive appearance at Old Trafford in October.

"We've probably had the worst defensive display [against Warriors] since we took over," Rush said. "A couple of lads underperformed defensively and it cost us. But we've not become rubbish overnight. There is still only one team that has beaten us and we will get our chance against them later in the year.

"Last year we drew with them at Millennium, got beaten on Good Friday, lost in a Challenge Cup semi-final but we still got to a Grand Final."

St Helens who overcame champions Leeds at Headingley last Monday night, will leapfrog Hull into fifth place if they win at the KC Stadium tomorrow; their next four games are all against teams below them in the table.

Rush said: "We've an opportunity still to get enough points to get in the four and, if everybody beats everybody else around them, why can't we make that the top two? We just need to put a run of games together and we've got the squad to do that.

"We play Hull, Bradford, Salford, Hull KR and Widnes and we need to win all five. Then let's see where we are because during that time Leeds are playing Wigan; Wigan are playing Catalan, and so people are going to take points off each other."

Hull, who beat Leeds in their last home game, will want to bounce back from their agonising last-minute defeat by Hull KR in the Magic Weekend. In tomorrow's other games, Huddersfield go to the bottom club Widnes hoping to end a run of three consecutive defeats; Hull KR host Warrington; and London Broncos look to complete the double over Wakefield.