Brown weighs up options across the park after impressive showing from Lomax, Wilkin and Wheeler (From St Helens Star)
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Brown weighs up options across the park after impressive showing from Lomax, Wilkin and Wheeler
THE impressive showing by Jonny Lomax at full back and Jon Wilkin in the halves may have given Saints more structure and dynamism at Bradford – but coach Nathan Brown is not rushing to make any changes permanent.
With skipper Paul Wellens (calf) and Lance Hohaia (shoulder) likely to be sidelined for another two to three games, the formula that worked against the Bulls will be tested more vigorously over the next fortnight when Saints play the two teams that took out the silverware last season.
The visit of Leeds, who head to Langtree Park on Friday, is followed by a short trip to Warrington. Two more good performances from those grabbing new shirts may just give Brown further food for thought – but he won’t be discounting the attributes of his old heads overnight, not least those of his club captain.
Brown said: “It seemed to work ok on Saturday, having blokes in different positions seemed to help our team a little bit that’s for sure.
“Jon Wilkin is an experienced player. He controls the play well, is a good talker and kicker – you can’t underestimate how important a player like that is to your team.”
Lomax was a revelation at number one, safely defusing a number of Bradford bombs and eagerly chiming into the line to grab three tries.
Brown added: “Full back is a different responsibility; a tough position in different reasons to half back.
“It is one where he can play well. Modern day full backs are athletic, catch pass and kick, they are full backs that are coming into the game more. Lance and Wello are hurt, so it felt like a good time to give him a go there.
“I’ve got my feelings where Jonny is best suited, but it is what best suits the team.
“Wello is an important player for the club – he competes hard and his leadership is tremendous.
“When everyone is fit and well – in a couple of weeks – Wello, Lance and Josh Perry, then I will have to see what our best side is.”
Another big bonus for Saints was the return of Gary Wheeler, who gave a display of his dangerous attacking play from stand off.
Brown was only too pleased to give him a chance – but he too is another player whose versatility could see him employed elsewhere.
He said: “Wheeler has trained really well for last month and did well for Rochdale the previous week.
“He earned a chance through doing the right things, he went in there the other day and was pretty confident.
“Gary has had a bad run with injury, hopefully for his sake he can get some flow in his game.
“We have Lance and Gasky to come back, but Gary can play a number of spots including stand off, centre and full back.
“Gary is a real threat, he is an exciting player. Lots of his past coaches have known that, but for differing reasons he hasn’t been playing. He needs some consecutive games.
“I am slowly learning on what the best half back partnership will be; learning more about the players and what positions suit them in the team. We need to put them on the right seats on the bus.”