Budding journalist Owen Farnworth, age 13, looks ahead to the new season and reflects on Saints' final friendly against Leigh Centurions

HAVING played a solid game against Leigh in the last hit-out of pre-season, hopefully the Saints squad is now fit and ready for the new campaign.

Justin Holbrook has a few selection headaches, the most painful probably being the half-back situation with Jonny Lomax, Matty Smith, Danny Richardson and Theo Fages all vying for the two spots.

All looked good during the 24-20 win against Leigh, with Fages even playing at hooker for a spell in the second half showing he has the ability to be the ever important understudy to the crucial James Roby as Saints look to manage their captain's game time and further his outstanding career.

I am confident ahead of the new season Saints have a great squad and there is no clear weakness.

However, it remains to be seen if they can go all the way.

Saints named a strong 24-man squad against Leigh, with the likes of Ben Barba and Roby featuring in the win.

Holbrook's men were on the attack immediately after Leigh knocked on from the kick off and after some sleek work by Barba, Lomax crossed for the first try on the right edge.

Mark Percival attempted to convert but missed a conversion he really should be slotting over.

This led to Holbrook experimenting with the kicking as Smith and Richardson were both given the opportunity to convert later tries.

Many fans, including myself, continue to wonder who will have the kicking duties this season as it remains to be seen whether Holbrook will persevere with Percival or give Richardson or Smith a chance to impress with their goal kicking.

A sharp looking Barba then went over for a try himself with some skilful footwork before Smith failed to convert the kick that followed from out wide.

Leigh then earned a penalty in the Saints half.

At first the Saints defence, which was a key feature of last season's campaign, stood strong but it was breached by the centurions as Liam Hood scored to make it 8-4.

Leigh then scored again to make it 10-8 before Saints number 23 Barba bagged a brace to make the score 12-10.

Former Saint Jack Owens scored on Leigh’s left wing to send the away team into half time in front at the break leading 14-12.

Holbrook made wholesale changes at half time, giving players such as Fages and James Bentley the opportunity to impress along with youngsters Matty Costello, Jack Ashworth and Jake Spedding having an opportunity to catch Holbrook’s eye.

Costello had already impressed Holbrook in the 66-4 win against Sheffield eagles at Ruskin Drive.

Saints were pegged back at the start of the second half as Craig Hall capitalised on a Saints error to score and make it 20-12.

The hosts made a fantastic break down the right hand side with some impressive hands which was encouraging to see going into the new season.

However, the play came to nothing as Morgan Knowles’ pass was judged forward by referee Phil Bentham.

Saints then scored two quickfire tries from Richardson and Zeb Taia to put them in front at 24-20 with 20 minutes to go in the game.

Saints saw out those 20 minuets with the game finishing with winger Adam Swift racing down the right wing before being tackled on the 30 metre line as the final whistle blew.

It was encouraging to see Swift play well as he was kept out of the side by Regan Grace for a chunk of last season.

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