Hohaia happy with young Saints
St Helens’ New Zealand international Lance Hohaia insists his club are in a promising position as they prepare for the visit of Catalan Dragons to Langtree Park tonight.
Saints have experienced a difficult start under new coach Nathan Brown, with a host of senior players missing games through injury, and they are out of Super League’s top four after losing two of their three matches over Easter.
However, Hohaia remains confident they can still mount a title challenge and believes that, with the progress of the club’s plethora of promising youngsters, the future looks rosy.
“We’re still a work in progress,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of key players out for the last three or four weeks and the young guys who have come in have done really well.
“To be sitting fourth equal after Easter is not a bad place to be.
“I think we’ve used 30 players already, whereas last year we only used 28 all season.
“There’s a great development programme at the Saints and the kids know what it takes to be premier league side players.”
The Catalans have been equally inconsistent and coach Laurent Frayssinous can see similarities between the two teams.
“I think they are like us,” he said. “They have some talented players like (Sia) Soliola and (Willie) Manu but they don’t perform consistently, just like us.
“They’ve also got some key players injured in (James) Roby and (Jonny) Lomax so there are two teams in the same boat.”
Tonight’s match will revive memories of last year’s dramatic last-minute try by centre Daryl Millard which enabled the Dragons to snatch an unlikely 34-32 victory.
Meanwhile, Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott believes lowly London Broncos will provide his in-form side with a stern test at Headingley tonight.
The Londoners have lost 11 matches in a row at Headingley but former Broncos boss McDermott expects them to be highly motivated for this one.
“We’ve had some interesting results against them since I’ve been coach of Leeds,” he said.
“I’m sure the players still there who I coached will get up for this, as they have for the last two years, and try to get one over on the old coach.
“London has done us in the last couple of years and I am sure they will have in their minds that they have a formula that has worked against us.”
McDermott has brought 18-year-old stand-off Liam Sutcliffe into his squad after being impressed by his performances in the Under-19s.
“Liam was 18th man last week against Warrington and has trained with the squad this week,” McDermott said.
“He may not feature this week but we have got a couple of people we have to make late checks on and I would have no hesitation in putting him in as he is a very talented young player.”