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Depth of squad will give Nathan Brown some selection headaches
SAINTS boss Nathan Brown has spelled out how difficult it is going to be fitting his squad, should it stay fully fit, into 17 jerseys come match day.
That problem will intensify now that Lance Hohaia seems likely to be moved from stand off, which could see him jostling with club captain Paul Wellens for the utility spot on the bench.
There will be a number of back rowers fighting not to be the odd one out and should any of the three young props step up with a serious claim, that will leave another experienced forward on the sidelines.
Brown said: “It is hard – and if we are fully fit there are going to be a number of players out of the team who deserve to play.
“You have got to have three bigger men on your bench so there are going to be some unfortunate ones missing out.
“Whoever misses won’t deserve to miss out because they are all training well.”
The depth of the squad does give the coach the option to rotate his forwards, but it is not a tactic he will apply to his men in key spots.
“Your nines, sevens, six and one are not positions you would like to fiddle around with but if you have got a good sized squad some of the forwards may need a break.
“But I would like to think that our first up 17 will do well and be rewarded by playing a fair bit. “We are going to have one or two younger players who deserve to play and one or two older players who are training well and have always been playing.
“But there are going to players at either ends of their careers who are going to miss out if we are fully fit and playing well,” he said.
Mose Masoe is still wearing a protective boot, but he is in rehab training and anticipates returning for round three against Salford.
With Brown likely to start with two props plus Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook in the loose forward role, he will need another front rower for the bench with Greg Richards and Carl Forster making a significant claim.
“We have a number of young forwards pushing – and if one of those were to get in someone else is going to be unlucky,” he said.
Forster is a transformed player from last term when he failed to make an appearance in the first team.
Brown spelled out what he has seen in him this past few months to have faith in him – faith that has so far been repaid with strong games in the pre-season friendlies.
“Carl has trained really well and probably changed his diet and lifestyle.
“He’s got a child on the way and there’s nothing like an impending birth to make someone really knuckle down.
“He has put himself in the picture,” Brown said.