9:43am Thursday 6th March 2014
By Mike Critchley
EXPECT a few fluctuations on the Richter Scale across the north west on Friday night when heavyweight Samoan World Cup star Mose Masoe makes his Saints debut against Hull KR.
The 20-stone man mountain is fit again after missing the opening three games following an off-season ankle operation – and he will join a pack that has been in pretty tasty form so far.
Although Nathan Brown admitted it is going to be a tough call who to leave out of the 17 to accommodate the former Penrith prop, Masoe’s physical presence is required.
Friday should be yet another test of Saints’ new found physical prowess especially with Rovers having their big men Justin Poore and Mick Weyman back from suspension for this clash.
Brown said: “Mose is out of rehab and his training has improved a lot.
“He has trained really well.
“The reality with Mose is that he is the type of player who now needs to be playing.
“It means someone will miss out who has been doing a good job for the team so that will be a tough call.
“But he is going to help the team grow in certain areas which is important for us.”
On signing Masoe’s thunderous big hits montage on You Tube soon became must-see viewing for Saints fans, whose appetites were further whetted by his fearsome bone-crunching collisions wearing the blue of Samoa in autumn’s World Cup.
The disappointment of him missing the opening rounds of the year have been mitigated massively by the big impression made by fellow new boy Kyle Amor, who has already stamped his personality on the pack.
Working in tandem with Alex Walmsley, Amor’s bustling runs and boundless energy have laid a great platform for Saints’ backs to work off.
Given his lack of match fitness it is likely that Masoe will give the side impact off the bench, at least to start with, but that will do something to address Saints’ apparent lack of size that has been noticeable when the first raft of interchanges takes place.
Although Saints are playing with some confidence, with an unblemished record so far, they will not be taking a Rovers side lightly, not least because they lost to them three times last term.
Although they have lost Michael Dobson to the NRL, they have recruited plenty of size to the pack in the off-season.
And the Robins still have the prickly Travis Burns – a good mate of Saints scrum half Luke Walsh - operating at stand-off.
Who Burns will be playing against in the red vee is a moot point. Gary Wheeler had been the first choice and played well in the opening two games until missing the win at Salford with a dead-leg.
Lance Hohaia came in from the cold to slot in seamlessly, crafting two tries and tackling like a demon in the win over the Red Devils Brown’s call now is a tough one and presents a real dilemma.
“At the start Lance trained really well and deserved to be in the 17 man, but wasn’t in and Wheels got to start and played well.
“Wheels had an unfortunate accident, Lance came in and plays like he did. It is a great situation but there will be an unlucky person.
“It is a tough situation because Wheels is only going to get better with playing, as is Lance. The position is obviously an important position,” Brown said.
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