New and improved Burns eager for Walsh link-up

Travis Burns
Travis Burns
  • Burns itching to link-up with fellow Aussie Walsh
  • Stand-off loving ‘winning’ culture at Langtree Park
  • He insists they must learn from South Sydney defeat

Travis Burns has told of his excitement at linking up with old pal Luke Walsh when his fellow Aussie returns to full fitness.

The half-back duo, who played together at Penrith in the NRL, are tipped to form a potent combination when Walsh finally returns to full fitness following knee and ankle surgery.

Everything happens for a reason. I just want to keep moving forward and help this club win some silverware. That’s the reason I came here

Travis Burns

He is expected to be out for a few more weeks.

Burns, 31, said: “What’s exciting is that we’re four from four in Super League and we’ve got probably the best half-back in the league waiting to walk back into our side.

“Luke’s a very good friend of mine - we played together for three years at Penrith - and we know each other’s games inside out.

“He can be pretty quiet off the pitch but on it he’s an out and out half-back who’s got a great kicking game and his game management is second to none.

“I think our games complement each other well. He steers the team around and I can play off the back of that - he creates space for my running game and the outside backs.

“I must say I think Wilko has done a fantastic job in Luke’s absence though. He’s been playing in an unfamiliar position but he’s a guy you want with you in the trenches.

“As a team we’re definitely not playing our best football yet. We’ve probably got a good 30 or 40 per cent improvement to come. But when we get our game right we’re going to be pretty exciting to watch.”

Burns, who joined Hull KR in 2013 after a lengthy ban led Penrith to tell him to find a new club, freely admits that he likes to play an aggressive brand of rugby.

But he reckons he has matured since arriving in Super League - despite picking up a contentious one-game ban following Saints’ recent win over Castleford.

“It’s always tough to miss games in those circumstances,” he said.

“We went down there confident we could beat the charge but, with my record, it’s hard to walk away without a suspension.

“It was an accident - I’m good friends with Justin Carney - and it was just one of those things. I think I’ve matured as a player since I’ve come over here. I’m a lot better footballer than I was.

“I went through a stage with a lot of suspensions a few years back, but you live and learn. If I didn’t get such a big suspension in Australia I probably wouldn’t be here now playing at such a great club.

“Everything happens for a reason. I just want to keep moving forward and help this club win some silverware. That’s the reason I came here.”

Burns, who admits that Hull KR will always hold a special place in his heart, says he has been mightily impressed with the way Saints are run since his arrival in the off-season.

He said: “Saints are a first-class club. You can compare them to any of the good NRL clubs back home. No stone is left unturned and, as players, you are given everything you need to succeed.

“The coaching staff make it a pleasure to come in to training. Longy is a character but he’s a very smart footballer and he’s taught me a lot.

“I had a fantastic time at Hull KR - who gave me an opportunity following my big suspension - but that’s in the past now. I’ve got a good feeling about where this club’s heading.

“The culture of St Helens is not to accept failure and that suits me because I don’t like losing!”

Burns, who admits he was slightly overawed by playing in the World Club Challenge, reckons the chastening experience could prove a blessing if Saints are victorious later in the year.

He added: “South Sydney taught us a lesson about how to play big game football. They’re a great side. But it’s something we’ll all learn from. The scoreline didn’t really do us justice either - we had a few opportunities in the first half. It could have been a very different game.”