Brown beaming after Saints comeback
6:43am Monday 24th March 2014 in © Press Association 2014
St Helens coach Nathan Brown was delighted as his weakened side overcame a 16-4 deficit to maintain their 100 per cent record in the First Utility Super League.
Brown gave a debut to former Huddersfield threequarter Matty Dawson, who scored one of his side's five tries in their 24-16 victory at Wakefield, and had four forwards making their first appearances of the season in the absence of five regulars through injury and suspension.
Saints were staring at a first defeat of 2014 when hooker Paul McShane scored his first try for the Wildcats two minutes into the second half but they hit a purple patch, running in four tries in a 15-minute spell, to ensure their return to the top of the table.
"Obviously, we had a lot of personnel out in key positions," Brown said. "We had a lot of people playing for the first time this year and others playing in different spots.
"In the first half from an attacking point of view we didn't handle it so well, we were a bit disjointed.
"But they have a lot of threat across their team - they have scored 50 points in each of the last two weeks - and I thought defensively we handled them reasonably well.
"And in the second half I thought our offence improved enough to get us enough points to win."
Without both overseas half-backs - Luke Walsh and Lance Hohaia - through injury, Brown turned to veterans Paul Wellens and Jon Wilkin for his half-back combination and they played key roles in Saints' comeback.
"Wello did a good solid job for us," Brown said. "He completes so hard whatever position he's in."
Wakefield coach Richard Agar was disappointed with his side's inability to stem the tide when Saints got on a roll but was also unhappy with the performance of referee Tim Roby and revealed that match officials boss Steve Ganson gave him a dressing down at half-time.
"We had a period where we touched the ball three times in 15 sets and it was during that period when they came up with four tries," Agar said.
"My beef with my team is that we've got to be a little bit stronger and, when momentum is against us, we've got to work harder to break it.
"I'd like us to show a bit more resilience when under pressure and fatigued.
"Some times when things go against you in a game, you have to aim up that little bit harder.
"Having said that, there was a lot of penalties against us in the second half and I thought the game was refereed differently to the first half.
"Apparently Steve Ganson has entered the referee's dressing room at half-time and has given him a good old-fashioned dressing down.
"I'm not sure that is in his remit. I'd have liked to have been a fly on the wall."
Match commissioner David Asquith confirmed that Ganson went into the referee's changing room at the interval but declined to elaborate.