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Holbrook’s selection headache

Action from Leigh v Saints. Photo: Paul McCarthy
Action from Leigh v Saints. Photo: Paul McCarthy
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Justin Holbrook has a king-sized selection headache - and he is as pleased as punch!

The Saints’ boss has at least four contenders for the key half back slots in Jonny Lomax, Matty Smith, Danny Richardson and Theo Fages and the quartet did enough in this friendly against Leigh Centurions at the Totally Wicked Stadium to suggest their talents can’t be ignored.

Four into two doesn’t go but at the same time Lomax is so versatile he can also operate in most positions if asked to do so.

The Aussie started with Smith and Lomax in the pivotal roles on Friday but it could be argued with some justification that one of the keys to victory was Richardson’s arrival as one of many substitutes during the 80 minute hit out.

His pace, an eye for an opening and his tactical kicking was exemplary and, unlike both Smith and Mark Percival, managed to land a couple of goals and also notched a try - points which proved priceless at the end of the night.

All will have given Holbrook food for thought - even though he was honest enough to admit he’d never seen a good friendly in his life.

He added: ”We know we need to play better, but in games of this type there is always a great deal of chopping and changing and every players knows it’s a friendly.

“But there were some positives. Ben Barba played well at full back and scored two tries which is just what we need from him, while Richardson was a real live wire.

“I also thought we created plenty throughout the match, even though we were changing players at regular intervals.”

He also confessed that his players needed to tighten up defensive after allowing an 8-0 lead to evaporate and become a 20-12 deficit early in the second half before the tide finally turned.

Tries - Saints: Barba (2), Lomax, Richardson, Zeb Taia

Goals: Percival (0/ 2), Smith (0/1), Richardson (2/2).

Tries - Leigh: Liam Hood, Kevin Larroyer, Jack Owens,

Craig Hall

Goals: Reynolds (1/2), Hall (1/1)

Half-time 12-14.

Full-time: 24-20.

Referee: Phil Bentham.

Attendance: 3,298.

Teams - Saints: Ben Barba, Tommy Makinson, Ryan Morgan, Mark Percival, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Matty Smith, Kyle Amor,James Roby, Luke Thompson, Zeb Taia, Dom Peyroux, Jon Wilkin.

Subs: Adam Swift, Theo Fages. Alex Walmsley, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook,. Morgan Knowles, Danny Richardson, Matty Lees, Jack Ashworth, Jake Spedding, James Bentley, Mathew Costello.

Leigh: Craig Hall, Matty Dawson, Ben Crooks, Peter Mata’utia, Jack Owens, Ben Reynolds, Drew Hutchison, Harrison Hansen, Daniel Mortimer, Jamie Acton, Kevin Larroyer, Bodene Thompson, Jordan Thompson.

Subs: Liam Hood, Larne Patrick, Kyle Lovett,. Nathan Mason, Greg Richards, Nick Gregson, Jonah Cunningham, Jack Blagbrough, Ilias Bergal, Jordan Dezari