SAINTS boss Nathan Brown reflects on the 42-0 drubbing in France and looks ahead to Sunday’s game against Cas, in conversation with the Star’s senior sports writer Mike Critchley.
MC: How big a blow is losing Jonny Lomax?
NB: Jonny has had some nasty injuries in his career but they have probably helped make him who he is – and how tough a competitor he is. He trains hard and has a real pride in his jumper.
From a playing point of view he is not only one of our better players, but he’s also the best players in the competition so everyone misses out.
He is an exciting player and good to watch.
On the other hand we are fortunate to have Wello coming in, who is a different style of player.
Wello knows his strengths and so does the team, so that is fortunate.
He was very good in the games against Huddersfield and Salford but does different things to what Jonny does.
Having Wello on the field will be a bit of a bonus too, because of his leadership, but losing Jonny is disappointing.
MC: What went wrong in France?
NB: When you are sitting in the ground and its 30+ degrees and for the first time this year it was our attack that let us down.
I know the scoreboard says 42, but it was our attack that let us down.
Our handling and timing was out. After 60 minutes they had scored three tries from kicks, no passing tries and no line breaks.
It was hot and because of all the tackling we did and losing a couple of blokes with injury we ended up with no petrol in the tank.
We had five blokes who had come back from injury – and three had not played for ten weeks.
So that coupled with the conditions affected us. It was nothing like Magic – on this occasion the players showed some pride in the first 55-60 minutes and competed for each other even though they did not play well.
MC: With the ball the absence of Lance Hohaia and Jon Wilkin were sorely missed – players who have had a fair bit of criticism.
NB: I am amazed that Wilko gets criticism after what he did for us last year in changing position – and what the pair of them have done this year.
Losing them both was not good and that meant Wheels’ first outing at six since round 2.
People watching the game a little more closely will see what Wilko and Larney have brought to the table.
On Saturday we never flowed in attack and the weight of possession in the conditions had a bearing in the end.
The last 15 minutes were disappointing – don’t get me wrong – but it was nothing like the Magic game.
MC: Is this problem with the attack a blip or is it a sign of something deeper that you need to fix?
NB: If you look at our attack during the year us and Cas have scored most points.
If it kept happening week after week you would worry.
If you put it into context –it is the first time we have not looked good with the ball.
Our timing was out, our lines were out. We had two disallowed and one nearly but apart from that we never looked like scoring.
I can’t give you a reason why, just a hope that this week we will get that a little bit better.
MC: There is a picture developing – readers are now regularly demanding answers and an inquest now after every bad defeat Is this just the nature of sport?
NB: If you look at the competition table there are five or six teams there or thereabouts.
The competition is close – Cas, Leeds, Wigan, Warrington and Saints are not running away with it. The thing is being consistent enough to win enough games and play well at the right time of the year.
Every team is going to have a blip. Leeds have only won one of their last four and that was against Leigh.