LONDON Broncos may only have two wins on the Super League ladder but are a formidable team according to Saints Head Coach Nathan Brown.
The two sides lock horns at the Twickenham Stoop this Saturday (1pm) desperate for the win.
“London played really well at the back end of last year,” Brown said. “Craig Gower was out for them but now he’s back he is a crucial player. They have a formidable team when fit with a lot of experience and young English London-based players.
“Gower, Chris Bailey, Antonio Kaufusi, Michael Witt and Kieran Dixon (pictured) – they are good players. Every time Dixon plays he gets better. He is an eye catching player who is improving all the time. He’s scored 14 tries and that is a great effort. When London string wins together you can only imagine how many he will score. He is a good young talent.”
Brown will hand Luke Thompson a debut in the clash with Nathan Ashe starting too. Adam Swift is likely to return and Mark Percival will be in contention for the other wing spot.
He will be missing Francis Meli, Jon Wilkin and Ade Gardner through suspension, whilst James Roby, Jonny Lomax, Josh Perry, Willie Manu, Mark Flanagan, Anthony Walker and Gary Wheeler are unavailable through injury.
Brown continued: “A few things didn’t go our way on Saturday but the guys’ effort and commitment to fight back and get in front was terrific. But we need to channel our energy a little smarter in different areas. At 12 men we made one bad decision and they got us from a kick at the end.
“We need to channel our energy better and we do that by kicking the ball well and gaining better field position. We have been competing hard but have to be smarter in some areas.
“Injuries and suspensions are part and parcel of the game. I have been coaching for a long time and have been through it before; it’s waiting for when the end comes. The young kids are gaining more experience than they would have and that will put pressure on the returning players too.”
One player who Brown singled out for his performances over recent weeks is Tommy Makinson.
The youngster has stepped up to full back in the absence of Jonny Lomax.
“Tommy’s full back play has got better,” Brown added. “You could see the difference between the last time we played Hull KR to the cup game. He has really stepped up. When everyone is fit he is a younger player in the squad but now (in the present situation) he is quite an experienced player.
“He’s done himself proud in the last couple of weeks and has benefitted from the situation we are in. It has made him a much better player, more capable of playing a number of positions.
“He had an unfortunate game against Hull FC and Gardsy (Ade Gardner) was behind him waiting for a chance. Tommy then went and played for Whitehaven, got man of the match, and did the same for Rochdale. He’s handled himself well.
“When Jonny Lomax coms back he will be at full back – but that isn’t because of Tommy – that’s because we all saw where Jonny should play.”