Saints boss dispels rumours and hopes linchpin Walsh can have a good, long term stay at the club

Nathan Brown Answers: Saints boss dispels rumours and hopes linchpin Walsh can have a good, long term stay at the club

Luke Walsh takes on the line

Jon Wilkin - stand out performer

Gary Wheeler - earned the chance to keep his spot

First published in Sport

NATHAN Brown talks to the Star’s Mike Critchley about the Giants win, Wilko’s displays and Luke Walsh rumours.

MC: There were a lot of pleasing things from Friday, what did you pick out?

NB: Effort and commitment was the big things for me. The guys enjoyed what they put into the game what they did, and when that happens the ball does bounce your way.

MC: The players looked very focused last week in the build up to the match.

NB: The year has been pretty reasonable but going out of the cup does have an effect on everyone – players, staff, fans and chairman. The reality was we went out to the best team in the comp at the moment in Leeds in a performance in which we far from disgraced. But after a couple of decent wins the Warrington game was disappointing in one particular facet of the game. I thought we went out against Huddersfield and redeemed ourselves a bit.

MC: You did to Huddersfield what Warrington did to you?

NB: That is true and have just said the same to Baloo. When you get that part of your game right you give yourself a far better chance.

MC: The scoreline probably should have looked more emphatic?

NB: Yes, Huddersfield got a couple of lucky tries there at the end but overall it was a really positive performance.

Mark Flanagan got an opportunity and did a really good job, Mose Masoe had his best game for the club and Louie had his best game for a few weeks. There will be people who will have got confidence from that. A lot of players will get confidence out of that game. Jon Wilkin has been among our top two or three players for the year and sometimes does not get the credit he deserves. But Wilko has done a great job on that left hand side. Working well with Larney.

MC: How much of a balancing act is picking your pack to start?

NB: The amount of experienced forwards we have out makes it a tough challenge to get the balance right with who is playing with who. Plenty of thought goes into it, even if we don’t always get it right. They all contributed the other day and when Sia, who has played well this past three games and Wilko, who is in sensational form, it helps the younger guys. Out of those Luke Thompson has been a bit of a stand out of the younger forwards this past two or three weeks.

He broke his foot and had a plate put in during the pre-season, so when he got his foot in a bad spot on Friday the plate pushed on the nerve and was swollen. When the swelling went down the x-ray showed no break. He has a chance of playing but if he doesn’t he wont be out long.

Josh Jones is back in the reckoning and passed his medical – but you have to see who you put him in for because the boys did well last week.

MC: With Gary Wheeler coming in and grabbing his rare chance, you can’t just drop him out again?

NB: Wheels did well and has earned the right to stay in the team. He put in a good performance, having not played for a while himself, and more importantly has trained well too.

MC: Once you get some of the injured players back, you should see some competition for spots again?

NB: We have not professed to have found our best team yet. You look at Luke Thompson, he was nowhere near it at the start of the year because of his injury. But now he has started paying he is really putting his hand up and we’ll have some hard decisions to make.

MC: How far off are the cluster of injured players?

NB: Well we should get an influx after the Challenge Cup weekend off – the likes of Jonny Lomax, Adam Swift, Willie Manu and Alex Walmsley. They are close to a return.

MC: It is important to back up this Friday.

NB: Salford is a big important game for us, we have a lot of experience out, so it is about doing it again and delivering without those guys. It is a challenge for the team.

Salford have struggled recently, but they have found building a footy club from scratch is difficult and then changing coaches midstream is tough, but when it does click for them they will be hard to handle.

MC: The Luke Walsh rumours don’t seem to go away. Is that because we (the press) keep talking about it.

NB: You know what things are like when they begin to grow. We had a couple of losses and whenever that happens, you tend to get talk that this player is not happy and that player is going. That is the nature of the sport, particularly with social media and one little comment there can fuel a lot of things.

Luke Walsh is playing well and training really well and as a club we are hopeful that he will have a good, long term stay at the club.

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