Saints Control Future

NATHAN Brown says Saints are in control of their own playoff destiny.

A win over sixth-placed Hull FC at the KC Stadium on Friday will hand his side a home tie in the playoffs.

And that would be a big boost according the club’s head coach.

“Everyone wants to play at home and it would be good to do so,” Brown said. “The ball is in our court to do that and we can control what happens. The key for us is to play well. If we play well we will give ourselves a chance.

“Playing at home would be an advantage but the reality is we will play either Hull KR or Catalan who are both very good. It’s not like years ago when you knew the eighth placed team wouldn’t be good enough. Whoever you take on now is always going to be a tough team to face. All sides have recruited well and the competition has got a lot stronger.

“We have a tough game on Friday. Hull rested players at the weekend after the cup and it was a good game. It was a tough game to get a gauge on though.”

One thing Saints will need is a good start over in Hull.

Before Friday’s loss to Warrington, their run of seven wins in eight matches was based on solid foundations.

“Physically, with and without the ball in the first 15 minutes Warrington were better, they got their rewards and the ball bounced their way,” Brown continued. “They came out of the blocks and whether it was the head coach who didn’t start with the right team, we just weren’t quite right or we didn’t give the opposition the respect they deserve, we just didn’t come up right at the start of the game.

“But as a whole it was good preparation for the finals and a good lesson. It was a tough, intense, physical end to end match and that is what the finals will be all about. The young blokes got an idea of what is coming and what we need to do too.

“We decided to start Sia Soliola off the bench as he had only played one game in ten weeks. We have a lot of confidence in Anthony Walker and Josh Jones and they have played well for us. To play an intense game against that pack of international forwards will do them well. You can only learn if you play.

“Sometimes you can look too much into things. It wasn’t just the younger ones that didn’t start very well. When Sia and Louie (McCarthy-Scarsbrook) came on they gave us a lift. Lance Hohaia did that in the middle too. And we rose and rose for 60 minutes. The game was a real contest and at 22-16 we had a real chance. But we didn’t take those chances and then Lee Briers kicked the field goal.

“There is a lot to take out of the game but we didn’t come out of blocks well enough. “

Saints will have James Roby back in the line-up this Friday with Paul Clough also expected to feature. Sia Soliola is also likely to start.

Stat Pack:

Three of the last five meetings between Hull FC and St Helens have finished in draws, including the last two – 22-22 at Langtree Park earlier this season and 18-18 at the KC Stadium on 3 June, 2012.

The sides also fought out a 24-24 stalemate in the previous fixture at Hull (2 May, 2011). Only Danny Tickle’s last-minute winning field goal prevented 2010’s fixture at the KC Stadium also ending all square, with Hull taking the spoils 27-26 (4 June, 2010).

2013 Meeting:
St Helens 22, Hull FC 22 (SLR3, 15/2/13)

Super League Summary:
Hull FC won 10
St Helens won 23 (includes win in 2006 Grand Final and wins in 2001 and 2006 play-offs)
3 draws

Highs and Lows:
Hull FC highest score: 44-6 (H, 2005) (also widest margin)
St Helens highest score: 74-16 (H, 1999) (also widest margin)

Personal Milestones:
Paul Wellens remains one point away from 1,000 in his career. He has scored 953 points (218 tries, 40 goals, 1 field goal) for St Helens since 1998. He has also scored points for Great Britain (18 – 4 tries, 1 goal), England (16 – 4 tries) and Lancashire (12 – 3 tries).

Ade Gardner needs one try to reach 200 career touchdowns. His total of 199 has been scored as follows: 173 for St Helens (2002-2013), 15 for Barrow (2000-2001), 2 for Great Britain (2006-2007), 2 for England (2008) and 7 for England ‘A’ (2002-2003). He has also made three non-scoring appearances for Cumbria (2003-2004 & 2010).

Francis Meli needs three tries to reach 150 whilst in the British game. He has touched down 143 times for St Helens since 2006, to go with 4 tries for The Exiles (2011-2012).

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