ST HELENS coach Royce Simmons took the blame for his side’s 40-18 Super League defeat at second-placed Huddersfield.
With 10 first-teamers ruled out through injury, Simmons was forced to give a debut to 19-year-old back-row forward Scott Hale, while Nathan Ashe and Jon Wilkin formed a seventh different half-back partnership so far this year.
St Helens fear they may have now lost prop Josh Perry with a suspected broken knuckle.
But Simmons refused to use the injuries as an excuse and blamed himself for his side’s heaviest defeat of the season for changing his team’s game plan.
“We had 17, they had 17, so there are no excuses, ” he said. “I can take a fair bit of blame for what happened out there.
“There were quite a few changes and I tried to make things a lot simpler but I probably should have stuck to the way we were going to play. We probably played a bit negative.
“And that’s not good against a side like the Huddersfield Giants.
“They were very good. They came here to play and they are right there among the top two as a result.”
After trailing 12-0 at half-time, Saints gave themselves hope when Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook went over for a try within four minutes of the re-start but the visitors were blown away by a Giants’ scoring burst of 22 points in 10 minutes.
Simmons’ men scored further tries through Matty Ashurst and Ade Gardner in a spirited late rally, however, and Simmons was able to draw encouragement from another inspirational display from James Roby and the debut of Hale.
“We started the season with 29 players and they’ve all played first grade now,” he said. “I thought Scotty Hale went good for a young bloke who was thrown in late. He showed me he’s got a future.
“I thought James Roby was magic again. He’s like a clock, you just have to wind up him and let him go. He’s unbelievable.”