Flannery warns of Pryce threat
Chris Flannery admits his former team-mate Leon Pryce could tear St Helens apart if he is allowed to display his full array of talent at Langtree Park tonight.
The former Bradford Bulls and Great Britain stand-off was a huge favourite during his six years with Saints but, after a season wrecked by a succession of injuries in 2011, opted to kick-start his career in France with Catalan Dragons.
Pryce made his Dragons debut in last Saturday’s win over Castleford Tigers in Perpignan and will line up against St Helens for the first time in seven years.
“Leon had a lot of niggling injuries last year,” Flannery said. “He’s going to come here on Friday night with a massive point to prove.
“I think we all know when he’s at his best, he can tear teams apart. If we don’t keen an eye on him, he can be a real handful.”
Tonight’s clash brings together two of only four unbeaten clubs after the first three rounds of Stobart Super League and Flannery says Saints are anticipating a difficult test from the star-studded Catalan outfit.
“It’s going to be one of the toughest games of the year, I think,” Flannery said.
“You can’t take these guys lightly at all. They’ve a very big pack and quality guys like Scott Dureau and Leon Pryce, Thomas Bosc and Clint Greenshields.
“On paper, it’s right up there with any team in the league.”
Hull FC, one of the other unbeaten sides, are set to give a debut to 20-year-old prop Josh Bowden at Salford City Reds in tonight’s other game.
Without the suspended Sam Moa and with new signing Eamon O’Carroll not yet ready to make his debut, Hull are down to just two senior front rowers in captain Andy Lynch and Mark O’Meley.
The Black and Whites have also lost Joe Westerman with a dislocated shoulder so coach Peter Gentle has also called up Chris Green and Jamie Ellis, who have yet to make their senior debuts.
“We’ve spoken a lot about having a squad and having some good young junior players ready to step into the first team,” he said. “There is no point having them training in those positions throughout pre-season and then not giving them the opportunity.
“Everybody in the squad knows what is asked of them and they all play to the same structures and calls. With that in mind, it’s the same as usual for us going into this game, just with a few fresh faces.”
Centre Jordan Turner also looks set to make his first competitive appearance of the season against his former club.