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RugbyL: Slumping Saints missing magic touch

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

St Helens' mid-season slump continued with a thumping defeat to Warrington Wolves at Magic Weekend and head coach Nathan Brown admits his side are still searching for that key ingredient.

Saints topped the pile after winning their first eight games in a row in Super League but they have since lost four of their last six.

A win against Warrington would have returned them to the summit but Joel Monaghan crossed twice for the Wolves who ran in eight tries in all in a comfortable 41-24 victory.

Saints are still searching for their first trophy success since winning the Challenge Cup back in 2008, Leeds, Wigan and Warrington dominating the game since then.

And while Brown would not reveal what it was that his side are lacking, he admitted that they are still are not on the same level as the big boys of Super League.

"We had a chance to go to the top of the table, which halfway through the year you would say is a good achievement, but unfortunately we weren't good enough today," he said.

"I'm not going to publicly say it, but I told my players at half-time what I think we need to do to beat Wigan, Leeds or Warrington in a big game.

"I don't think it's a coincidence that Wigan have been dominating St Helens for the past four years. I know why it is, I'm not going to say it, but I've told the players.

"They're a terrific group of guys, they turn up to training prepared to work hard every week and they do that. We've got some talented players and some hard workers, it's a good, balanced side.

"But there are areas that we need to improve on, and the guys who have won trophies that are left at the club would agree with that."

Defending champions Wigan ended Leeds' seven-game winning run at the Etihad Stadium despite missing a host of first-name players through injury.

The Warriors did the double last season in claiming the Super League and Challenge Cup titles but while the win over Leeds kept them in third in the table, head coach Shaun Wane was in no doubt that it was the best win of his coaching career.

"If everybody in this room is honest, nobody thought we would win that game and I said that to the players before we left," Wane said.

"Even the directors at Wigan didn't expect us to win it.

"But everyone in that room knew we would. Our tenacity and aggression was fantastic and that got us the win in the end. It's my best win ever."

Hull KR gained a measure of revenge for last year's dramatic derby defeat to Hull FC at least year's Magic Weekend as they emerged 38-24 victors over their local rivals.

And while head coach Craig Sandercock was delighted with the victory, he insisted that revenge was never on his players' mind going into the clash.

"Make up for it? For us it was about putting in a performance today and making sure we did the little things well," he said.

"It doesn't make up for last year but what it does do is give us two points. Two points are like gold in this competition."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140518/rugbyl-slumping-saints-missing-magic-touch