SAINTS boss Nathan Brown reviews Easter and looks ahead to the big Leeds cup tie, in conversation with the Star’s senior sports writer Mike Critchley.
MC: It has been a tough Easter?
NB: It has. The Wigan game is always the one that can go either way. The first half was a cracking half of footy and I thought they were a little bit better than us and that reflected in the early part of the second half and the better side won the game..
On Easter Monday we had so many players not playing that it was always going to be tough going. Hopefully we will get some benefit further down the track from resting some key players.
MC: Wigan is a big game to lose, how do you bounce back for the cup tie?
NB: If you had said at the start of the year we would win our first eight Super League games and knock Huddersfield out of the Challenge Cup I think we would have all taken that.
We lost to Wigan but we will play them again this year, hopefully in some bigger games and it is about winning in the right time of the year. We have now got to win enough games to put us in a good spot in both competitions.
MC: Have you any troops back?
NB: I am not sure about Kyle Amor, both he and Mark Percival are 50/50s, Jonny will definitely play, as will Robes, Luke Walsh, Big Alex and Swifty.
Obviously Willie Manu and Anthony Laffranchi are noes and as are Gary Wheeler and Matty Dawson.
MC: You were quite annoyed after the Wigan game – what are your thoughts now after reflection?
NB: We had some stuff structurally where people were not where they generally are in attack. There were parts of our defence, earlier on the set, where we could have done better.
We let ourselves down in a couple of key areas. When we got things right we looked good, and we defended their structured plays really well but they got us with a couple of little shifts in the late parts of sets.
There wasn’t a great deal in it, but they were better than us in a couple of key areas. We can be better than we were.
MC: Are the young players who filled in on Monday knocking on the door for first team?
NB: They are certainly putting their hands up. They have all got aspects of their game – and like every young kid - that they need to improve, but that can only come through playing. It is a case of when you play them and who you play them with. The more they play the better they get.
MC: Leeds is a massive game for this stage of the competition?
NB: We are both good teams and the winner will fancy themselves with a good shot at the cup. We go there with confidence, Leeds will be feeling good too. It is game all RL fans will be watching.
We have to take lessons from the Wigan game and move forward We played a higher impact game against Wigan, but feel those are the games that help you beat a team like Leeds.