Saints back row ticks plenty of boxes - Wilkin

Willie Manu meets Jon Wilkin

Willie Manu meets Jon Wilkin

First published in Latest News St Helens Star: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Sports Writer

SAINTS forward Jon Wilkin believes that the side will benefit from having no players on international duty in the autumn.

It means that a full roster of players started back under the coaching of new boss Nathan Brown last Wednesday.

And Wilkin is confident that the new signings will further bolster the club’s chances as they aim to grab a piece of silverware after a break of four seasons.

Wilkin missed out on international duties, choosing to have an operation on his elbow instead.

And first choice hooker James Roby sat it out too, meaning Saints’ only player involved for England was new signing Jordan Turner, who played for the Knights.

It could give Saints, who have supplied big numbers to the national team for the past decade or so, a bit of a boost.

Wilkin said: “For a start, having a fresh James Roby will be massive for us.

“I had an elbow operation and wanted time to recover from that. I have played hurt in the past, but this is one time where I thought ‘look after myself’ and I went with the doctor’s advice.

“Don’t get me wrong, walking out at Sydney Football Stadium for Great Britain is still one of the highlights of my career. That was a great moment. That is what you play the game for – but there are times when you have to make tough decisions.”

Wilkin is now looking forward to the new season under the coaching set up of Brown, Jamahl Lolesi and Keiron Cunningham.

“Everyone excited about this year.

"Some people will see how we go. People are positive because of the way we ended the season.

“At the start of last season people thought we were toast, gone.

“But the response we showed at the back end of the year was a bit of our internal reaction to people telling us we were rubbish.

“Our mission this year is to make sure we don’t take any of those big games off.

“Nathan has come here to win trophies and I am looking forward to working with him.

“I have always liked what he has done at Huddersfield.

“There are some very positive things about this club at the moment. There is so much to be positive about. I am really looking forward to playing with Willie Manu and Sia next season.

“I am going to love starting behind those two – knowing that we have got that power, agility, strength and defensive prowess.

“There are not many boxes that that back row does not tick,” Wilkin said.

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