‘We’ll come back even stronger,’ says Brown

Mark Percival makes his debut against Leeds
Mark Percival makes his debut against Leeds

Saints coach Nathan Brown is confident that the team’s recent injury and indiscipline crisis will ultimately stand them in good stead.

The Aussie said he couldn’t fault his players’ “effort and commitment” - despite four losses on the bounce - but now wants them to channel their energy more smartly.

As well as injuries to key players James Roby and Jonny Lomax, Saints have also seen Francis Meli, Jon Wilkin and Ade Gardner hit with bans.

Brown said: “Sometimes when it rains it pours. We’ve been a little bit unfortunate in recent weeks but it’s just part of the game sometimes.

“Sometimes you just go through stages like this but, when people come back, we’ll be in a good position because these young lads will have more experience and will be able to put more pressure on the other players.

“I can’t fault the guys’ effort and commitment - we just need to channel our energy into slightly different areas and we’ll reap the rewards.

“We’ve been competing hard. We just need to grind out a few wins now and things will slowly turn around.”

Meanwhile, Brown, who called for consistency in the policing of the new shoulder charge rules, remained coy about speculation linking Saints with Salford flyer Jodie Broughton.

He remarked that the 25-year-old was “quick and has scored lots of tries” but that “I’m sure lots of clubs would be interested in a player like that”.

Instead, Brown opted to hail the impact of Saints youngster Mark Percival and in-form Tommy Makinson.

“Mark has done a great job and Tommy is improving all the time,” he said.

“Tommy has really done himself proud and has benefitted from the situation we’ve been in. He had one unfortunate game earlier on in the season but has handled himself really well and this stint will make him more comfortable playing different positions.

“Jonny will definitely come back in at full back when he’s fit though - I think we’ve all seen this season which position Jonny should play.”