Exiles can fire us up

Bradford's Gareth Raynor is tackled by James Roby and James Graham during the engage Super League match at the Odsal Stadium, Bradford. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 12, 2011. Photo credit should read: Gareth Copley/PA Wire.
Bradford's Gareth Raynor is tackled by James Roby and James Graham during the engage Super League match at the Odsal Stadium, Bradford. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 12, 2011. Photo credit should read: Gareth Copley/PA Wire.

ROYCE Simmons believes his players’ involvement in the England-Exiles game will fire up his young stars.

The Saints coach watched six of his senior players perform in the inaugural Origin International.

And the former Australia Test hooker believes that, despite playing twice in 48 hours, the experience will be beneficial for not only the representative players, but the squad as a whole.

“The six players who have been away have a duty to come back and be right on top of their game,” said Simmons.

“I know it is hard, but they have got a duty to do that. These players here have helped them win a lot of games that got them in contention to make the representative side.

“If we had only won half the games we have won, there might only be three in the representative sides.

“And I also think they have got to come back and show the kids why they are playing at that level.”

Simmons saw his side earn a 14-14 draw in Sunday’s game at Bradford, but he refused to regard it as a point gained.

“I thought we should have got the two points as we were slightly the better side,” he told Saints’ website. “They played well, but we created more opportunities than they did.

“For them to get points, they had to go to air. It still means the same on the scoreboard, of course.

“We broke through and got over the line, too. We had two tries disallowed that we will have a very close look at. They got to the front through a penalty, but if there wasn’t half a dozen chances for us to get a penalty in the last five minutes beneath the posts, I will be surprised when I look at the video.

“I felt a little bit sorry for the referees, as I didn’t think it was their best day.

“I thought they were off and I will probably have to go back to Stuart Cummings [head of referees] this week and have a chat with him.”

Simmons was also quick to praise the bravery of hooker James Roby, who played despite injuring his eye socket in last week’s victory over Leeds Rhinos.

“Robes was really brave,” he said. “He had a late fitness test and we did some things like run tackle bags across his face to ensure he would be fine.

“We only decided to play him at the last minute.”