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Sunday, 6 May, 2001, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Noble predict Saints fightback
Bradford were indebted to Henry Paul
Bradford were indebted to Henry Paul
Brian Noble, coach of Super League leaders the Bradford Bulls, is predicting that St Helens will bounce back from their weekend record defeat to challenge them for the title.

Bradford recovered from their Challenge Cup defeat by Saints to defeat Castleford, but Saints suffered a hangover as they crashed 74-16 at Leeds.

St Helens must pick themselves up for two games in three days, starting with the visit of Castleford on Wednesday, but Noble believes the champions will recover from their trauma.

"They will bounce back, I'm positive of that," he said. "They are too good a side not to."

We are paying the price of success
  Brian Noble
Bradford coach

Noble admitted, however, that Saints face a major test of character as well as stamina as they prepare for a demanding schedule.

Bradford themselves completed a hectic spell of three games in eight days with the 24-22 win over Castleford.

"I just want to get back to one game a week, the whole team does," said Noble. "I think you are in danger of making a mockery of the competition.

"We are paying the price of success. Don't get me wrong, the five extra games were through the Challenge Cup and we wanted to go through and win the final.

"But we need to find a better way because it just dilutes the product when you are making teams play so many times a week."


Castleford coach Stuart Raper was left to contemplate the vagaries of Super League, where the use of modern technology is restricted to televised matches, after Danny Orr and Darren Rogers scored controversial goals.

"Today's game showed the inconsistency where you have a video ref one week and not the next," said Raper.

"The touch-judge gave the last try and I think Danny Orr's would have been given as well. To the naked eye, they were tries.

"We had the video ref so I can't whinge about it but next week the same thing might happen against us and we could lose the game through not having a video ref."

Castleford's cause was not helped by the loss of influential hooker Aaron Raper with a shoulder injury in the first half

Front row colleagues Dean Sampson and Nathan Sykes are also doubtful for Wednesday's trip to St Helens after picking up injuries against the Bulls.

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See also:

02 May 01 |  Rugby League
Bulls bounce back to crush Wolves
28 Apr 01 |  Rugby League
Saints clinch trophy hat-trick
22 Apr 01 |  Football AV
Vale cling on for Trophy
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