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Nathan Brown: The big challenge for our young players is finding consistency
Updated 10:06am Thursday 6th March 2014 in Sport
SAINTS coach Nathan Brown spoke with the Star’s senior sports writer Mike Critchley ahead of this Friday’s home game against Hull KR. He explained the dilemma he is facing this week picking the team.
MC: The scoreline probably does not reflect how physically tough the Salford game was?
NB: Yes, to give credit to Salford, James Roby came in afterwards and said ‘That was no 38-0 game’. James is the fittest player I have ever seen so for him to say it was not an easy game is a fair indication.
Tony Puletua, Lama Tasi, Gareth Hock, Francis Meli are all big blokes who are very good players too. When you are playing against those sorts of blokes it makes it tough.
MC: How pleasing was posting the nil next to Salford’s name?
NB: If Salford put that side out and have that same sort of completion rate there will not be many teams that will keep them to nil.
We have had some defensive lapses this year but the guys are generally fighting hard and working for each other and we hope that will continue to get better.
We had a slow start against Warrington but defended well against Hull with a couple of lapses, but against Salford we seemed to get things right for longer periods and be more consistent which is pleasing.
MC: The stand-off situation must be giving you food for thought?
NB: It is a tough situation because Wheels is only going to get better with playing, as is Lance. And the position is obviously an important position.
Lance served his time as not getting picked, retained a great attitude and then he came in and put in a terrific display.
Wheels, on the other hand, has trained the best I have seen him train, gone in and done well too, so it is a tough call and the person who misses out is entitled to feel unlucky. That is the reality of it.
MC: Three wins out of three with the team playing with some confidence, is it a balancing act to be able build that confidence without the players getting ahead of themselves?
NB: The boys know realistically where we are at and what is needed to get the end result. We have be consistent and then improve.
Blokes like Alex Walmsley and Kyle Amor have had a great start to the year. The challenge for then is to look at Jamie Peacock – he is 36 and has been doing it from round one to 27 for a lot of years. That is the challenge for any younger player to play well throughout the year and that the difference between good games and bad games is not too far apart. Consistency in performance is the key.
The challenge for our young players is keep improving their game – Mark Percival, Adam Swift, Tommy Makinson and Josh Jones and all these kids. Their game should develop as time goes on.
MC: Josh Jones has now strung a lot of first team games together – he very durable and solid but his work can go under the radar a bit?
NB: He is the first player picked every week. He is just so reliable and you don’t think of him as a 20 year old the way he plays and carries himself you forget how young he is.
He is a really important player for us and being able to play in outside backs helps.
But he does a lot of the unnoticed work and the boys appreciate what he does.
MC: Hull KR caused some problems last year – they have a different team this year. What do you expect?
NB: Michael Dobson was influential for them. What they have brought in this year is big forwards who can mix it. They did so against Huddersfield and got a point. And against Leeds they gave them a game for an hour. Those games don’t reflect were they sit on the table.
They still have Travis Burns who is as tough as nails you will know that he on the field.
MC: With the new players your team is now more equipped than last year to deal with that physicality?
NB: I’d like to think so – last year we lacked a bit of size, but this year due to chairman’s support we have addressed that.