STAYING put! That was the reaction of Shaun McRae in response to rumour and innuendo that he should resign.

WHITTLE: Calls for your head gathered momentum despite Saints' victory at Huddersfield, which many supporters thought was a diabolical display. Are you quitting?

McRAE: There is no chance of that because I have a passion for the Saints' club, I am committed to a contract until the end of this season and would be happy if the club offered to renew it. As for events at the McAlpine Stadium, yes it was a poor performance from a finishing angle because Saints created enough chances to have won by 30 points at least. We were guilty of 22 handling errors, and I left the players in no doubt as to my feelings in a locked dressing room. I can accept constructive criticism with the next man but take exception to outbursts such as that from an anonymous woman on radio who accused me of regular absence from training, choosing Saints' team from my front lounge, and generally not giving a damn about the club because I am heading back to Australia. Total rubbish! However, I have been greatly heartened by many messages of support from fans, and plead with the dissenters to look for the positive aspects in the team, such as the performances of Shaun Long, Bobbie Goulding and unsung hero Julian O'Neill at Huddersfield. HITTLE: It could be argued that but for Gouldings's accuracy with the boot Saints might still have been without a win. In view of this surely supporters dismay at lack of attacking flair is understandable?

McRAE: Yes it is, put we have to keep this in perspective because Saints did score three outstanding tries as a result of team-work on a mud-heap at Salford, and that was the case with the first two at Huddersfield.

WHITTLE: On a positional note supporters are baffled as to why loose-forward and record signing Paul Sculthorpe is being selected in the second row, while the choice of centre Andy Haigh in that position in a game when all the substitutes were forwards was another head-scratcher. Can you explain?

McRAE: Like several other Saints' players, Sculthorpe can operate in a number of positions and indeed figured at stand-off in several matches while with Warrington. He was not signed as a specialist loose-forward but would have played there at Huddersfield but for injuring his thigh. With regard to Haigh, he would have probably remained at centre but for Scully's absence and, in view of the fact that Andy is a big lad who is destined to be a forward and has played in every game this season I felt he was the man for the starting line-up. WHITTLE: Six players left Knowsley Road in the close season despite the successes of 1996/97. Too many too soon?

McRAE: Too early to tell. What I can say is that Andy Northey decided his future lay in Rugby Union; Derek McVey's contract expired; no pressure was brought to bear on Alan Hunte and Steve Prescott to leave, while places in Saints' starting line-up could not be guaranteed for Chris Morley and Simon Booth.

WHITTLE: On balance, I remember similar ructions when Mike McClennan and Eric Hughes were in the firing line. A coaches' lot, don't you think?

McRAE: Unquestionably, as Mike and Eric would no doubt agree. Just a concluding thought: Like Saints Bradford have won two from three but the knives are not out for Matthew Elliott. I rest my case.

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.