Nathan Brown: Dragons clash will be test for Saints' middle men

St Helens Star: Sia Soliola Sia Soliola

SAINTS boss Nathan Brown looks ahead to the trip to Catalan in conversation with the Star’s senior sports writer Mike Critchley.

MC: Are you able to train differently when you have had a blank weekend?

NB: This time of the year the guys have played so much that most clubs have blokes with some sort of niggly injury. Not having a game gives a little bit of time to freshen up with some consecutive days off. If nothing it freshens them up mentally. There are no more breaks for eight weeks so that can help mentally as well as physically.

MC: Catalan are a tougher proposition at home?

NB: Their home form is definitely stronger, but I think you are also seeing them playing better since their injured players have returned. Once the likes of Louis Anderson and co started coming back, then they started playing well again.

MC: That big Dragons pack is a tough test for your men in that middle?

NB: It is a big challenge for them. Most weeks if you play a big game it is your middle always gets tested and if they don’t do a good job then you end up on the back foot.

The difference in our middle from the Warrington to the Huddersfield game was huge and the result was a big swing as well When you play Catalan over there it is very important.

MC: Does this week off create a natural break between the start and second half of the season?

NB: I think our guys should be proud of being top of the league. Collectively all the squad have contributed to where we are on the ladder even though we are far from the finished article.

We know we need to get better to get to Old Trafford and we still have a lot of players to come back from injury but we will get better.

As a team we are still growing and challenging ourselves on a regular basis to do that.

MC: Sia confirming his departure will leave a big hole?

NB: Yes, he is a good player. I don’t doubt he has been mulling over the decision, but once he made it his form has been super, particularly this past three or four weeks.

He has been a good, consistent player since I have been here at the club but last month he has been excellent.

It is clear he is obviously comfortable with the decision he has made and wants to finish with a bang.

He is a tough player to replace, an important player, and lets hope he can have some luck with injury and finish the year well.

All good players are hard to replace, but someone goes and someone comes in – that is the business we are in.

Sia has set an outstanding example at training too and is contributing in team, meetings more which is really important because we are a young side.

He has stepped up in the leadership role. It is important for a player of his stature to contribute more than just on the field.

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