Rush vents anger at referee Alibert

PA Sport
Thierry Alibert, pictured, came in for some strong criticism from Saints coach Mike Rush
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Thierry Alibert, pictured, came in for some strong criticism from Saints coach Mike Rush

St Helens head coach Mike Rush launched a scathing attack on referee Thierry Alibert after his side narrowly slipped to 33-32 defeat against in-form Wakefield.

The game appeared to be destined for a draw with the sides locked at 32-32, but Paul Sykes slotted the crucial drop-goal right on the hooter for the home side, who are now in the race for a top-eight finish with their latest victory. Rush, however, was highly critical of the performance from Alibert throughout, while also reserving praise for the Wildcats.

"Taking nothing away from Wakefield, they're in great form and deserved the win, but I'm sick of being involved in games like that when he's refereeing," Rush said.

"He kills us. Every time we've had Thierry Alibert in a game this year we've ended up in situations like that: games with no control about them. I appreciate I'm going to get in trouble for it, but every single time we have this guy, he hammers the game."

Rush also took time to criticise his own troops as they slipped to a second successive defeat in the race for the top positions in the Super League ladder.

"I didn't think we were great, sometimes you can judge enthusiasm and mental state on your kick chases, and ours were poor," Rush said. "We should have had Ben Cockayne tackled in goal, but he breaks away and two tackles later they score. They worked that littler bit harder and wanted it a little bit more than us."

Wildcats coach Richard Agar admitted his side are well and truly in contention to pinch the final play-off spot after their fourth win in a row, and set his sights towards next week's crucial game against eighth-placed Hull KR. He said: "Eighth spot is up for grabs, for sure.

"I don't look at the table too much but I'm aware of our points tally and where we are in the league. Hull KR is without question the biggest game of the season next week, but even if we win that, we've still got to win some more games after it, but momentum is with us, and we've put ourselves in with a real shout of getting into that top eight."

Agar was also pleased with the attitude and form of his side as they knocked off yet another higher-placed opponent in a superb run of form.

"I'm delighted with four wins on the bounce, especially as we've played some of the best sides in the competition," he said. "It was a tremendous example of our courage and character when at times the game looked like it would slip away from us."

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