Brown: We must start right

Nathan Brown is concerned about the way Saints start games
Nathan Brown is concerned about the way Saints start games

Saints coach Nathan Brown admits he is more than a little worried by the manner in which Saints have leaked tries in the opening stages of their last three games - all stemming from self-inflicted wounds.

Along with Bradford Bulls and London Broncos, who occupy the bottom two position in Super League, Saints are the worst starters statistically

in the competition, Brown pointed out.

The Aussie was speaking after Saints first-ever Super League defeat at Widnes on Easter Monday when Lance Hohaia’s inability to deal with a bomb eventually led to the hosts posting a quick-fire lead and then never looking back.

A mistake by Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook in the opening minutes of Good Friday’s derby showdown with Wigan at Langtree Park was also instrumental in handing the visitors a confidence-boosting first try in what turned out to be convincing 33-14 win and while Jon Wilkin’s handling howler from the kick-off in the previous fixture at Castleford Tigers didn’t prevent Saints picking up maxium points, it cannot be ignored.

A frustrated Brown said: “Our starts to a game are a big issue. Even when we are winning games and going well, our first contribution is always an error.

“It can be from a kick off, playing the ball or dropping a bomb. It is something we need to look at because it is happening far too often as far as I am concerned.”

Hopefully, they will be able to eradicate the growing problem ahead of Saturday’ mouth-watering Tetley Challenge Cup fifth round against

Leeds Rhinos at Headingley

If they can’t, then they could be looking down the barrel of a third successive defeat and the end of their Wembley dreams.

Meanwhile, Brown accepted the scoreline against Widnes was a fair one, and was left to rue his side’s poor start.

“With four or five minutes to go, we were still in it, but the score probably reflected the game,” he said.

“Our start to the game is an issue. We have not started games well at all. Whether it’s kick-off, bomb or anything - we start the game very poorly and we have to look at it.

“The guys had plenty of fight in them - 18-4 down and we fought our way back - but credit to Widnes.”

On the hectic Easter schedule, he added: “We had a lot of players out there who are young lads.

“The thing with Easter is that everyone is in the same boat. We had 10 lads who didn’t play today but we are playing Leeds this week and we have a lot of injuries and that’s just the way it is, but we will get some benefit of them not playing.”

And Matty Dawson joined the injury list on Monday, with Brown revealing: “Matt Dawson has fractured his cheekbone. Matty has been playing well for us and it’s a bit unfortunate, but that’s the nature of the game.”