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Last Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
Jon Wilkin column
Jon Wilkin

By Jon Wilkin
St Helens back row

Beating Wakefield last weekend was a fantastic result for St Helens - and our week was made even better by the news that some of our most influential players have signed new contracts.

Keiron Cunningham has single-handedly evolved the role of hooker with his strength, dynamism and sublime handling.

Sean Long and Keiron Cunningham
Sean Long (left) and Keiron Cunningham have been at the core of the club's many successes

He's been the core of the club's success in recent times and will continue to set high standards that are increasingly hard to follow.

Sean Long is a true character. He has matured into a leader and an excellent organiser whose kicking game and decision-making have been the envy of sides around the world. He is so vital to our success.

The club also needs to be congratulated on securing 'Big' Maurie Fa'asavalu's services for the next four years, if only because it means I won't be on the receiving end of his piston-like fend and trampling feet.

I'm not sure there's a more influential impact player in world rugby at the moment.

Last but not least, Scott Moore has also agreed to extend his contract, too. Scott is a young player who is also the world's strongest boy.


I often like to think back to the days when rugby was just a hobby, something that my parents took me to do on freezing cold Sunday mornings.

It's on those occasions when I realised I loved being in a team and enjoyed the banter and socialising which came with the territory.

Rugby has become a job now and something I worry about daily

Those mornings playing for East Hull remind me of Deep Heat, massive shoulder pads, aggressive parenting from the touchline - my parents excluded, of course - and a feeling of achievement.

Rugby has become a job now and something I worry about daily. I still enjoy it so much but it is now an enjoyment with a side-helping of pressure and expectation.

If I'm ever feeling down about rugby and need some reassurance, I always look back to those days as a skinny kid wearing excessive padding on rutted sports fields.

It always makes me smile and remember why I started playing the game in the first place.


The use of motivational aids in sport is an interesting and increasing phenomenon.

Some people use visualisation to help them succeed while, more commonly, you see players in changing rooms listening to music on their mp3 players.

A fitting song can really change your mood and focus your mind, and at Saints we have some good stuff flying around pre-match.

The older I get the more I like to relax and mess around before a game

Paul Sculthorpe goes heavy on the cheesy 80's themes, so Top Gun and Rocky feature heavily on his playlist, while the older lads might all gather round the wireless and listen to some Glenn Miller.

As for young Scott Moore, he listens to some really aggressive heavy metal. It consists of a lot of men grunting and shouting in deep voices - which is pretty much like having a conversation with Scott.

I used to listen music to help me focus when I was younger but the older I get the more I like to relax and mess around before a game.

One of the biggest misconceptions in rugby league is that players psyche themselves up in front of a mirror and come out in a fit of rage ready to engage in battle.

It just doesn't happen. Not in our changing room anyway!



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