Phil Clarke has said that St Helens “lost the plot” last night against Leeds Rhinos in uncharacteristic fashion.
The Saints often rise to the pressure as seen in their four consecutive Grand Final wins as well as their recent World Club Challenge triumph.
That recent World Club Challenge win made it an emotional night at the Totally Wicked Stadium last night at their homecoming.
But the emotion perhaps got the better of them with Clarke saying that they lost the plot on Sky Sports:
“I think the players lost the plot in the end.
“He will speak to his players tonight about their ill-discipline. Some of them, hitting the halves after they’ve passed it, you just cannot do it these days.”
Paul Sculthorpe echoed these thoughts: “As a club, we don’t readily associate that with St Helens.”
Then Clarke provided a further assessment:
“They have shown in the past that they can handle winning and handle losing but not tonight, the emotion of the whole event has gotten far too much for them.”
This came before Clarke spoke about Konrad Hurrell saying that the Saints lost their composure with their typical aggression:
“Saints pride themselves on being aggressive, but you have to have composer with that. We have seen it with Sironen, Mata’utia and then with Hurrell.
“It is a red, he’s made direct contact with the head and he was late.
“He has no excuse, it was a red card. His conduct afterwards might be criticised. Kicking a water bottle onto the pitch. It’s not the sort of behaviour they want to promote here.”
This came as he also questioned Jack Welsby’s actions after the Sam Walters tackle:
“I thought it was a shoulder charge and probably should have been a penalty. But Jack Welsby got involved and it was completely unnecessary for him to do so.
“I don’t know why? It was like they had never played in a big game or a Grand Final before.”
He did wonder if the Saints were emotional and tired because of jet lag:
“Jet leg is a funny thing and it can do funny things to some people and it seems to have made St Helens overly aggressive. I don’t know if that’s down to being emotional or tired.”