NATHAN Brown has spelled out his reasons for leaving powerful young forward Luke Thompson out of his 19-man squad for the Widnes game – and hammered home the point that he is definitely not dropped.

Thompson has put together a string of high-intensity performances in that tough middle of the field in recent weeks.

But Brown felt that both he and fellow teenager Greg Richards will benefit from breaks, given the big games are all yet to come this term.

Brown said: “We want to try and maintain some consistency and play a similar side, but we have some players who won’t play this week who are in good form, younger players in particular.

“It also means that there is pressure on players to play well because if they don’t player X and player Y can do a good job.

“Tommo has played a few straight now. He was super against Cas, sensational against Leeds, one of our better players against Hull KR, not so good against Bradford and was going to be 18th man against London until Willie Manu’s had to pull out.

“Tommo went and played really well again. Tommo could argue that he deserved to be in the team.

“He is probably right but he is a younger kid and giving him a week or two off is not going to hurt his development.

“You can’t forget what he did in that back end of the game against Wigan because that intensity against quality opposition is going to be happening in September.

“You can’t deny what Tommo did that day was super. The more he plays the better he gets. But it is a big ask to ask him and Greg at their age to keep playing in the middle part of the field.

“Both are doing terrific for their age and when they are playing everyone is confident that they will do well and that is half of the battle.”