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Saints must be switched on and merciless for Broncos trip
TABLE-topping Saints will have to adopt a merciless approach when they make what could be their last Super League trip to the capital for a while on Saturday.
Although a win over the already relegated and currently point-less Broncos looks a formality, they have to go into this game switched on – and a big score given the tightness at the top could also be a significant bonus.
Saints will certainly need to show a stronger degree of mental toughness and consistency over the full 80 minutes than they displayed last weekend if they are to build some real momentum entering the business end of the season.
They are unlikely to risk scrum half Luke Walsh for the trip, but other than him and long-term casualty Jonny Lomax, Saints are in good health for their first trip to Barnet’s Hive complex.
London, who have soldiered on gamely with a patched up team, were relegated from the top flight last weekend.
And coach Nathan Brown believes that could prompt a different approach from Joey Grima’s side.
Brown said: “I suppose the fact that they are down in some ways can present a challenge because it frees some of the burden and pressure.
“They can chance their hand a bit more. As a whole – most of the games London have played this year they have generally fought hard and given themselves a chance. Credit to Joey Grima and the players because they have hung in for each other.”
No doubt stung partly by the fact that Saints – admittedly the patched up and depleted version – lost this corresponding fixture last season, Brown is not taking anything for granted.
He is keen for the team to produce a consistent display to arrest this way performances have meandered between good, mediocre and shocking since April.
“London is somewhere where you don’t go and take winning for granted, you have to get your attitude and commitment right and we won’t be going there looking at the table.
“We know where both teams are – but we need to look at what we need to do to have a good five week period and treat every game the same.”
Although James Roby came off briefly with a cut during Friday’s win, the rest came through unscathed.
And with the dual registration players going well up at Whitehaven and Rochdale, Brown has the squad to concentrate the players’ minds if need be.
Saints fans could be close to getting their first glimpse of Richie Beaumont who has been plagued with a groin injury since joining from Hull KR.
His early shout on Walsh was that it was unlikely he will feature this week.
Brown explained: “I’d be surprised if Walshy was fit. We can’t afford to play him if he’s not 100 per cent and risk doing the same again and missing another three or four weeks.
“We have a number of blokes putting their hands up. I went to watch Rochdale on Sunday and those boys did really well – as did the ones at Whitehaven.
“Josh Jones deserves to be playing and Matty Dawson did a lot of good stuff at the weekend – so there are players who are putting pressure on.
“Beaumont played well in his third game for Rochdale and Shannon McDonnell played is first game since the cup semi final last year.
“He did everything you would expect, but probably needs another game or two to see how his lungs."