LOUIE McCarthy-Scarsbrook says he will be doing everything he possibly can to return for Saturday’s trip to Leeds Rhinos.The 25-year-old close season signing from Quins missed the match against his former employers due to a shoulder injury.But he’s determined to feature for Saints’ Super League clash at Headingley.“It is a little sore but I’m hoping it will be ok,” he said. “I’ll check with the doc and the physios beforehand but I don’t want to be missing two games on the bounce.“It was tough missing the match last week, especially as it was against my former club. I was on the way up to the game with my missus, mum and dad and I was nervous, shaking like I was going to play. It was a weird experience really.“Ok, it was a good result for Quins, but I was disappointed with the game and angry I couldn’t play.“Rob Powell has done really well for them and given them a new lease of life. He has given them a good structure. He did well under Macca [Brian McDermott] and you could see he was always going to be a coach. Perhaps it came a little earlier than expected but he has grabbed it with both hands.”Saints’ form is patchy so far this season and their next game doesn’t come much tougher than heading over the Pennines – especially as Leeds are starting to hit their straps.But Louie says if they stick to the gameplan then there’s no reason why they can’t come away with two points.“It is a tough place to go and we certainly don’t want to be 18-0 down at half time again. Our confidence hasn’t taken a knock as we are professionals and know we have to pick ourselves up.“We know what we have to do.”
THE RFL and Gillette are delighted to announce a two-year extension of the brand’s decade-long partnership with the sport and the England Rugby League team.This will see Gillette continue as England’s main sponsor for Rugby League World Cup 2013, when its logo will feature on the national team’s playing strip.The partnership also enters its second decade with a fresh focus and significant investment from Gillette to improve the quality of coaching at the grassroots of Rugby League in the UK.The agreement comes as a boost ahead of the RLWC2013 and the Gillette-funded coaching programme is designed capitalise on the excitement of the home World Cup, increasing the standard of youth development, resulting in a better quality of home grown players to progress into the England ranks.England coach Steve McNamara said: “I am absolutely delighted that Gillette has extended its partnership for a further two years because they have become an important part of all we are trying to achieve in 2013 and beyond.“Their sponsorship is really appreciated by all the players and it’s great that the benefits of this partnership are now going to be felt across all levels of the game as we work together to develop both great coaches and great players.”RFL Director of Performance and Coaching Jon Roberts said: “Our ultimate goal in 2013 is to win the Rugby League World Cup but the need to support and develop the next generation of talent is always in our focus.“There is a clear need to identify, train, and develop specialist youth coaches who are experts at coaching children. Through the improvement of coaches we will develop a better quality of player to progress into the England ranks. With Gillette’s support we are raising the profile and value placed on coaches to ensure we develop the next generation of player.”The coaching programme aims to increase the number of quality 12- to 16-year-old Rugby League players through the education and training of 120 specialist children’s coaches. Gillette’s commitment to invest in RL coaches is part of The Great Start Programme, which aims to celebrate and encourage the coaches who will inspire the next generation of England stars.The partnership has a long-term vision as the RFL and Gillette understands without the tireless efforts of coaches and educators, the next generation would not be inspired to pursue careers in sport and new talent would remain undiscovered.Gillette brand manager, Jared Regan, commented: “We’ve been partners of the RFL since 2003 and have been involved significantly in the growth of their grassroots programmes across the country as well with the elite level of the game.“Aside from supporting the England international side, we understand the importance of funding and promoting the RFL’s grassroots programmes.“This is something we are extremely passionate about; the future of the sport is reliant on the provision of top class community coaching and facilities and we are proud of the work that is been done since 2003 to support this.”
NATHAN Brown was pleased with his side’s performance as Saints returned to the top of the First Utility Super League table.Mark Percival and Paul Wellens each grabbed a brace in a 38-16 win.“We’re happy with the performance,” he said. “We surrendered a couple of tries in the final few minutes but for 75 minutes we were by far the most dominant side on the field.“The whole 17 contributed to the performance. Willie Manu played his second game for about 10 weeks as did Mark Percival and they both improved. We had three kids out there who are just 19 too. Greg Richards was sensational – Andre Savelio and Luke Thompson did a great job as well.“They did that against seasoned professionals and I’m proud of how they held themselves.“Paul Wellens was super. The way he played he obviously contributed but his effect on his teammates is probably even better than the way he plays.”He continued: “We are looking forward to playing Wigan. They got the chocolates on Good Friday but we’re back on top and we want to put in a good performance. We don’t want to do there and surrender meekly, we want to play well and maintain a good position.”Brown said that Alex Walmsley will return from his suspension next week and Richard Beaumont will play his first game too – likely on dual registration.Kyle Amor and Anthony Laffranchi are also improving.
MARK Percival has submitted an Early Guilty Plea to his charge of ‘Disputing the decision of Referee’ by the Match Review Panel following our draw with Huddersfield.He is therefore available for Friday’s game
Denis Whittle has left us at the age of 85, after recent declining health, writes Alex Service.A remarkable man in so many ways, he possessed a veritable encyclopaedic knowledge of his home town, its people and St.Helens R.F.C. in particular.He first saw the light of day in Clyde Street in the town centre, close to the famous ‘Bruk’, an area of waste ground over the way from the former Beecham’s factory where, according to Denis, “many young men cut their rugby league teeth”. He always readily recalled players from that area, including Walter Delves, Roy Robinson and Josh Gaskell. Denis was educated at nearby Lowe House School and remained in touch with many of his classmates over the ensuing years.He was a Saints’ diehard since his schooldays during the Second World War, when he used to carry the team changes board around Knowsley Road. His boyhood hero was the great centre Jimmy Stott “St. James of Parr” as he used to call him and he always rated Alex Murphy as the greatest player he had ever seen, although Tom van Vollenhoven was his favourite overseas star!He began his working life as a newspaper compositor and was involved with the compilation and publishing of the first edition of the Rugby Leaguer from where he worked at Lockie Press at the age of 16.He spent 30 years with the St Helens Reporter, before joining the St Helens Star in 1989 in a purely journalistic capacity. He was also the Saints’ correspondent with the Star, replacing Ron Barker and his match reports in the early Super League era were typified by his fastidious attention to detail and a unique writing style that endeared himself to the reader.His flamboyant, descriptive prose was undoubtedly his trademark and quite unmistakable. Indeed, his ‘one-on-ones’ with the coaches of the time, including Mike McLennan, Eric Hughes, Shaun McRae and Ellery Hanley were eagerly awaited. He was straight to the point and the supporters loved it!My own favourite moment was with Eric Hughes, when both joined together for their weekly column Hughes’ Views. “Many ex-players tend to expand physically when they hang up their boots but that does not appear to be the case with you,” offered Denis. “What is the secret of your gazelle-like appearance and pace?”Absolutely priceless that one and typically Denis. He remained the Saints’ correspondent until Mike Critchley took over in 2001. He was, quite naturally, upset to leave, although he regularly contributed numerous nostalgia pieces for the rest of his life.Denis undertook his National Service in the Royal Engineers and served in Cyprus and Egypt. One of his most cherished occasions was Saints’ first-ever Challenge Cup victory in 1956, when he was able to get leave to go to Wembley on that famous day.He thought the world of that team and remained close to several of them through the years, such as Glyn Moses, Austin Rhodes, Steve Llewellyn, Roy Robinson and the legendary centre Duggie Greenall. The venerable Duggie was another of Denis’s favourite players and he produced a superb biography about him – A Rugby League Saint – in 2006.It was very much his piece de resistance and Duggie remained a valued close friend until his own demise several years later. Nothing gave him more pleasure than sharing a “pictorial pearl” or two with people who came to the famous “rugby room” at his home.Denis always looked forward to meeting up with old friends at the Annual Saints’ Players Association Dinner and attended the last event at the Totally Wicked Stadium in 2018. It should also be mentioned that Denis had a hand in Eamonn McManus’s original involvement at St.Helens R.F.C. For that alone we should be eternally grateful!He married somewhat late in his life to Margaret, who sadly pre-deceased him. As fate would have it, they met at Knowsley Road near the half-way line and had their wedding reception there. She was a primary school teacher [and a rugby league coach!] and he thought the world of her. Denis never really recovered from Margaret’s death. They were both huge Saints’ fans and toured Australia and New Zealand together watching the rugby league test matches. Many happy memories indeed. The Whittle Cup, competed for by local primary schools, remains her legacy.Denis was a generous man reflected in his involvement with Willowbrook Hospice. He was also a mover and shaker behind the Gus O’Donnell Fund in the early 1990s and helped with testimonials. He was also one of the first people to visit Steve Prescott when news of his tragic illness broke in 2006. He was also a keen cyclist and table tennis player, with an interest in railways and Gilbert and Sullivan.Denis respected authority and achievement, and delighted in regaling anyone who cared to listen with tales about the celebrated characters of our town and its rugby league players in particular. His obituaries were superb. He invariably knew them all and painted a true picture of their lives for us to celebrate.On a personal note, I enjoyed a long friendship with Denis. We produced several publications together, [Saints’ 50 Greatest Matches and Marching On, celebrating St. Helens R.F.C. in the new Millennium] where his supreme knowledge came to the fore.He was quite a character in his own right too. But how could you not like a man who at one time played a cassette tape in his car with just two things on it: ‘Happiness’ by Ken Dodd and the ‘Vollenhoven Calypso’. What an absolute legend!Everyone connected with St.Helens R.F.C. sends their condolences to Denis’ family at this time. He was a true rugby league diehard and will be sadly missed by so many people. Our town will never be the same again, for sure.Denis Whittle: April 30 1933 – January 4 2019.Pictured are Denis (right) with another Saints stalwart Paul Loughlin.