Young gun Tommy can steal the show

St Helens' Tom Makinson on his way to scoring a try
St Helens' Tom Makinson on his way to scoring a try
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Nathan Brown thinks Friday’s trip to Challenge Cup winners Leeds Rhinos will be the ultimate test for winger Tommy Makinson.

The Saints boss wants to see the 22-year-old combine his lethal finishing with a 
measured reading of opposite number Ryan Hall, if the man dubbed by Leeds fans as the world’s best winger takes to the field to face the league leaders.

And the task is a tall order for young star, who tops the Super League tryscoring charts with Warrington Wolves ace Joel Monaghan, if Brown’s assessment of Hall is anything to go by.

“I’ve been following his game closely for a long, long time and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better winger,” said Brown when asked about Hall’s abilities.

“He’s very big and when you see some wingers of his size at times they don’t quite have his game sense.

“He does things that have big swings on the game.”

But the Saints boss is confident Makinson will be able to continue his impressive form when the sides collide, in game which could see Saints take another step towards securing the League Leaders’ Shield.

“It’s a good challenge for Tommy Makinson,” added Brown.

“If he can mark-up against Ryan Hall and minimise his chances he’d be doing well.

“They are very different, aren’t they? Tommy’s a wonderful finisher. Some of the tries Tommy’s scored a lot of people would say a lot of glowing things about.

“He’s got that part of his game going very, very well and there’s other parts that he’s learning. Ryan’s had a lot more years’ practice than Tommy.

“He’s had a really good year for us and he needs to keep rising.”

Despite Leeds’ 15-year wait to win a Challenge Cup coming to an end with their 23-10 win over Castleford last weekend, Brown is not preparing to take on a team suffering from the after effects of Cup Final celebrations and the emotional high of lifting silverware.

“They’re always are a threat,” he warned.

“ The group of players have stayed together for a long period and they’ve kept that nucleus that people say are the key cornerstone of their success.”

“I hope they’re still drinking,” he joked.

“We have to approach them as if they’ll be at their best and we can only prepare for 
that.”