Is The Pressure On Keiron Cunningham Already?
Of course, it’s ridiculously early to be talking about coaches coming under fire. We’ve only had two games after all, and sacking a coach at this stage of the season would be as ridiculous as…say……awarding an Oscar to entirely the wrong group of people. Yet the backlash from Saints 24-16 loss at Leigh has been fairly loud, with his critics pointing out vociferously that actually he has had two full seasons before the start of the current one and has singularly failed to inspire. The tactics are lame, some of the results are toe-curlers, but as long as Saints plod along to a top four finish every year then it could be argued that Cunningham is fulfilling his remit.
This week they face a home clash with a Wakefield side who on their last visit to what used to be called Langtree Park turned in one of the most amateurish performances seen from any away side since the stadium opened in 2012. Basic fundamentals seemed beyond Chris Chester’s side as they were dispatched 44-4 by a Saints side not really considering moving into second gear. Yet the early signs in 2017 are that the newly re-named Trinity are an altogether different proposition. They haven’t won yet, falling to defeats to Hull and Huddersfield, but neither found victory easy to come by.
In all probability Saints, who may or may not have Zeb Taia added to their ranks now that the former Dragons man’s visa has been processed, will record a fairly unremarkable win and the wolves will be kept from Cunningham’s door a while longer. However, an unthinkable defeat will poison the atmosphere and turn the heat up on Cunningham who continues to struggle to inject into his coaching the kind of majestic brilliance that categorised his playing career.