Radford praises Hull FC duo after Saints shock

Lee Radford.
Lee Radford.
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St Helens boss Keiron Cunningham described his side’s performance as “woeful” after a 32-22 home Super 8s defeat by Hull.

Saints led 18-6 at half time before conceding five second-half tries with young Hull winger Curtis Naughton scoring a hat-trick.

Cunningham, whose side have now lost successive league matches after their cup semi-final defeat by Leeds, said: “It was one of the worst games of rugby league I have seen for a long time. Our completion rate was only 51 per cent in the first half and then 43 per cent.

“I’m bemused and can’t get my head round that. Now I know about the trials and tribulations of coaching.”

Cunningham excused James Roby of any blame with the England hooker scoring a try on his 300th Super League appearance.

“James was phenomenal and Alex Walmsley and Mark Percival did well,” Cunningham said.

“I’ve often said how proud I am of the players this season but I am embarrassed tonight.

“Some people are earning big money here but they can earn big money and sit in the stand.

“Reputations go straight out of the window now and I will have to give serious consideration who is around next year.

“There are no words in the vocabulary to say what the second half was like.

“I never gave up as a player but that was woeful.”

Saints led at the break with tries from Luke Thompson, Adam Swift and Roby before falling apart.

They lost Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook whose wife went into labour but Cunningham added: “That was no excuse. There will now have to be a lot of soul searching.”

Naughton scored a hat-trick with other tries from Tom Lineham - his sixth in five games - Jamie Shaul and Joe Westerman with Mark Sneyd booting four goals.

Coach Lee Radford said: “There were some really special efforts and our senior players really stood up, matched with the enthusiasm of the youngsters.

“I didn’t say any magic words at half time but it was a real team effort.

“Our completion rate was 85 per cent and some of our football was really exciting.

“I agree we are playing more ad lib and freely but I don’t want to coach that. It will give me me a heart attack!”

Radford had special praise for youngsters Naughton and Shaul.

“Curtis is a complicated character and made a couple of crazy errors in the first half but I was really pleased with his long-distance tries,” the Airlie Birds boss added.

“Jamie has been in the wilderness but deserves a lot of credit for an effort like that.

“We lost Iafeta Paleaaesina before the game through sickness and then Setaimata Sa had Achilles tendon trouble.

“Dean Hadley suffered a head knock and Jordan Thompson damaged his ankle but Danny Houghton was unbelievable alongside Mickey Paea, Mark Minichiello and Joe Westerman but I could go on and on.”