Walsh set to return for Widnes clash

Star scrum-half 'Luke Walsh
Star scrum-half 'Luke Walsh

Aussie star Luke Walsh is set to return to the Saints side against Widnes this Friday, with fit again Gary Wheeler set to join him in the halves.

Head coach Nathan Brown also revealed that Jon Wilkin - who has deputised in Walsh’s absence - will return to his regular place in the back row.

But he stopped short of describing Saints’ next three games - against Widnes, Hull and Wakefield - as “must win”, despite his side ending the season with ties against Leeds, Warrington and Huddersfield.

He said: “Walshy will play this week. Getting him back will put Wilko back into the back row and Gaz Wheeler into the halves.

“Coming into the back end of the year we just want to play well, that’s all. If we can play well and have our share of luck it can take us into the play offs in a good position and playing with a bit of confidence. That’s the key for us.

“Against London we were better than the week before and this week I’d like to think we can improve a bit again. London actually competed hard but class told in the end - which it should do.

“Widnes had a great result against Warrington - they can pull out a result at times can’t they? They’ve shown that in the past 18 months. The likes of Kevin Brown and Rhys Hanbury are very creative - they can score points.

“Obviously, they’ve got the cup game coming up and, whether they like it or not, part of their minds are going to be on that. I’m sure thay fancy their chances at getting to the cup final and we’d all love to be in their boat.”

Brown also backed Widnes star Kevin Brown, who he coached at Huddersfield, for a return to the England fold.

“Any time you get a half these days who can create space for other people and create tries you’re doing well,” he said.

“When it comes to try assists Kev does it as good if not better than most players in the competition. When Widnes win he’s generally one of their best players.

“I would have thought he’s a player that could help England.

“Anyone with a really good passing game has got to be a help - England are not going to defend their way to a win over Australia, they’re going to have to score points.

“On form is Kev one of the best halves in England? Without a shadow of a doubt. The stats don’t lie.”

But Brown was tight-lipped about reports in Australia linking Sia Soliola with a switch to Canberra Raiders.

“I’m not sure what’s happening or not happening with Sia.

“I would suspect a number of clubs would definitely be keen on him. He’s playing well and he’s a good player.

Whether he’s going to Canberra or not, I honestly can’t say.”