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Rush: 'We'll have to be at our very best to beat Catalan'
12:00pm Thursday 19th July 2012 in Latest News
“EVERYBODY is recharged and ready to go.” That is Saints coach Mike Rush’s view after having to sit last weekend’s Challenge Cup semi-finals out.
After that break attention now focuses on three massive games – starting with Friday’s trip to Catalan.
Rush said: “The next three games will have a big impact on where we finish in that top eight. We know that and have spoken about that.
“It is always hard at Catalan and we don’t underestimate the travel and the other bits that go with it. So we will have to be at our very best to get a result.”
They will not be haunted by the last second defeat at Langtree Park that did so much to mentally scar the early part of the campaign.
Rush, who was not in charge back then, said: “We have learned from the last Catalan game and are a lot stronger mentally than we were.”
He knows that Catalan, who have only lost twice at home this year, will be difficult to beat.
“With Casty up front, Steve Menzies in the back row and Henderson at hooker they have plenty of players in form. “They are a top four side and in one sense it is no different to playing Wigan and Warrington. It is a big game,” Rush said.
“I was lucky enough to have that week with Steve Menzies (Pictured) at Exiles and see the esteem that the other players hold him in. Every player wanted their pictures taken with him – not because of his age but because how good a player he is he is he is an iconic figure in the NRL and Super League.
“Not many players like him come along in a lifetime. He is in good form – Henderson too and Leon will always be up for a big game against a former club.
“Scott Dureau is a good player too. We have a little bit to do and know what we have got to improve on from the Widnes game.”
Saints welcome back Jonny Lomax, who missed out for the Widnes game and his England appearance with a rib injury.
He will partner Lance Hohaia at half back, in a fully fit team that is now only missing Ade Gardner.
Rush revealed that Gardner, who was on touchline duties in the last game, is expected to return to under 20s next week against Huddersfield.
“He is not fit to play this week and now needs a couple of weeks to get up to where the rest of the boys in terms of on the field stuff. He may play in the reserves at Huddersfield all being well – because if everyone is playing well he can’t just walk back into the team.”
Saints will be taking 19 players – the team plus a spare back and forward – and travel to Perpignan via Barcelona on Thursday.