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Hohaia eyes Old Trafford glory

18th of September 2013
Hohaia eyes Old Trafford glory

Lance Hohaia has set his sights on a trip to Old Trafford after re-establishing himself in the St Helens team.

Lance Hohaia has set his sights on a trip to Old Trafford after re-establishing himself in the St Helens team.

Saints coach Nathan Brown turned to the former New Zealand international utility player after losing the services of on-loan half-back Gareth O'Brien six weeks ago and he has not been disappointed.

Brown, in his first season at Langtree Park, tried 13 different half-back pairings until settling on a combination of Hohaia and England international forward Jon Wilkin.

They have masterminded a strong finish to the season by their team, who take on reigning Super League champions Leeds Rhinos at Headingley on Friday night in the second preliminary play-off semi-final.

Their duel with the equally-seasoned pair of Kevin Sinfield and Danny McGuire could go a long way to determining which of the former champions reaches the last four.

Hohaia has played much of his career for club and country in the halves, as well as at full-back and hooker, but Wilkin has been a back-row forward for most of his career and the Kiwi has been highly impressed by the versatility of his new half-back partner.

"It's been good," Hohaia said. "Wilko and I are fairly experienced players and we feed off each other pretty well.

"Wilko is probably not as familiar playing in the half-back role as I am but he's done a great job there.

"He's been playing really well. He's been a big reason why we've won some big games recently.

"I am enjoying linking up with him and hopefully we can get us over the line this week."

Hohaia was among a host of absentees when Saints came from 16-0 down to win 30-22 at Leeds in May and he sees no reason why, with players of the calibre of James Roby and Jonny Lomax back in the ranks, they should not repeat that success.

"It was definitely one of the more positive parts of the season," Hohaia said.

"We didn't have as strong a side that day as we do now. We've got some experienced guys back on board and playing with confidence.

"Saying that, Leeds have been there and done that before and they're at home in front of their fans so it's going to be a tough match."

The first preliminary semi-final takes place tomorrow night when Huddersfield Giants, seeking to bounce back from their opening play-off defeat by Wigan Warriors, meet Hull FC at the John Smith's Stadium.

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