SAINTS boss Nathan Brown reviews the classic win over Leeds and looks ahead to Huddersfield, in conversation with the Star's Mike Critchley.
MC: You go into this game with a bit of a bounce?
NB: Yes, we have had some good results this year. We have had some adversity this past few weeks. First we lost three blokes in the first half against Catalans and then did well to fight them off.
Then we fought back from 16-4 at Wakefield and, of course, the result at the weekend was as good as a result you would wish to be involved with against that calibre of opponent.
MC: You said last week that this would be a big test of some of the young lads’ mettle. A test passed with flying colours?
NB: They did well against a quality team. The young blokes did well, but the seniors set a good standard for them to follow too.
I thought we would compete hard and to beat Leeds we had to compete for 80 minutes. They were led well by Wello, Robes and Lance. Jonny is an experienced player for a young bloke. They led the way but the young blokes’ ability to hang in the contest was good.
It was pleasing to see Sia Soliola spend a lot of time on the field. There were lots of different things to like, but the main one was our defensive part of the game and how they fought for each other – and that was everyone in the team.
They had had a lot of repeat sets and if you can keep McGuire, Sinfield and Burrow out. Burrow caused us trouble but we always did enough to stop him.
When you play Leeds – and Huddersfield this week – they have a number of good players so you have to be on your game for a long period or otherwise they will burn you.
MC: In the past couple of years when the team has faced adversity or had a bad call heads have dropped. You must have been pleased with the response to the disallowed try?
NB: Yes, it shows how far we have come. The first half of last year in particular when we got a decision against us we did not respond quite as well.
MC: The young blokes that were dipped in – who will probably drop back out – will nevertheless take some big positives after being involved in a game like that.
NB: You would like to think that what they did in the short periods against Leeds – if they can keep working hard that if they can play against the likes of Jamie Peacock, Brett Delaney and Kylie Leuluai then they will be thinking they have got a chance of being an ok player if they keep working hard.
MC: Jonny played a different style of game on Friday?
NB: With Luke Walsh injured and Wilko banned his role changed to half full back, half half back.
He did a really good job for us – as did Lance and Wello in those difficult circumstances.
Robes did a great job too. He is a wonderful player. We don’t like to take him for granted but we probably do because he just keeps doing it and doing it.
The combination under difficult circumstances did well, well enough to play together again this week and I’d think they will improve a fair bit.
Lance took on more responsibility and his experience in the game shone through. At the end it was a great little play, Jonny did well too and Tommy held his nerve too.
MC: It must be good to have a real crowd pleaser like Tommy Makinson on board?
NB: He is scoring some great tries. The game is changing with the posts being taken out of the play you are seeing a lot of wingers scoring tries a lot differently to what they used to. It is not an easy thing to do.
MC: Do the older heads play a role this week in stopping the team getting ahead of itself after a good win?
NB: Wello is a good leader and the guys know that reality is Huddersfield are a great team and if you don’t play good then you are definitely not going to win. The effort and commitment needs to be done. Wello and the staff will talk to the players.
As a whole the guys know that to beat good teams you have to play well. If you turn up thinking ‘things are going to be ok’ then we will get beat.
MC: You have been away from there for more than a year – has the soft spot diminished?
NB: They have numbers of players that I had plenty to do with. I am good mates with Baloo and always follow the Giants with interests just like I follow the Dragons back home. If you are at a place for a period of time you build up an attachment, but this weekend I would much rather us do well than them.