‘I love it here, we play great footie and have top fans’

Mark Flanagan
Mark Flanagan

Mark Flanagan is keen to make up for lost time after an injury-ravaged 12 months and believes Saints must set their sights on an historic treble.

The utility forward spent most of 2013 in and out of the physio’s room after suffering a career-threatening knee injury.

Now back fully fit, Flanagan is hungry for game time and reckons coach Nathan Brown’s astute off-season signings can catapult Saints into contention for all three major honours.

“My mind is firmly set on winning three trophies: the Challenge Cup, the League Leaders’ Trophy and the Super League Grand Final,” said the Oldham-born ace.

“I don’t think there is any reason why we can’t do that and we should be aiming for that. Saints shouldn’t be settling for second place. We need to come out all guns blazing and carry on like that.”

Flanagan was named in Saints 17-man squad to face Salford last week despite playing only a handful of reserve and practice matches since his injury demonstrating he is in the forefront of canny Brown’s thinking.

And while the 25-year-old - dubbed Flash by teammates - has nothing but praise for the Aussie coach’s role in overseeing his recovery he has forthright views on his tortuous pre-season fitness regime.

“Browny has the right expectations of me, he’s not going to push me too much, he’s just going to let me get right in my own time,” said Flanagan.

“But pre-season, it’s brutal, it’s really tough. They are long days. we’re in five days a week which is like a normal job but when you’re training that intensely everyday your body has to recover and it takes its toll.

“We’d go up to the Dream to do hill running and there would usually be a couple of people who were sick. I’m usually top of the list, actually. But at the end of the day, if you’re not putting the hours in, you won’t get fit.”

Those vomit-inducing fitness sessions behind him, Flash is heading into Super League XIX in typically upbeat mood.

“I feel good about the knee in myself - it is just having a brand new knee. There’s no problem so touch wood it will stay like that and I can have a big season,” he said.

“It’s been pretty tough but I have got through and that’s the main thing. I love playing for St Helens. They play some great football, have got some great fans and a great stadium, great infrastructure, so I couldn’t wish to play for a better club, really.”