Brown: Real Belief

NATHAN Brown is preparing his side for Friday’s trip to Headingley confident they can do well.

It will be Saints’ second trip to Leeds Rhinos this year and in May, the last time the two sides met, they won 30-22.

Since then, an injury ravaged team has got key players back and has hit real form – just at the right time.

“There is real belief in the team,” he said. “We have played well over the last three months and our last loss was against Warrington. In the last ten or so weeks we have beaten some good sides along the way.

“You can’t fake the confidence and belief that comes from winning. And that belief is something you get when you have done it in the past. Some of the players here have been in big games and have done well. Leeds have done the same too.

“It will be a good game as both sides don’t just hit it up and kick do they? There is a lot of football in both teams. Both sides have vastly different ways of playing but aren’t afraid of using the ball.”

Leeds come into the match after losing 40-20 at Warrington, but Brown isn’t reading too much into that defeat.

“If you break the Warrington-Leeds match down Leeds had a short window where they didn’t go as well as they would have liked. If you’re a little off Warrington can punish you.

“In the first 20 minutes Leeds were going well but Benny Westwood’s try was 50:50 and it had a big impact. Warrington were the better side though but it was closer than the scoreline suggested.

“We’re not going to be able to go to Headingley, play average and win. All 17 players will have to contribute and perform well.

“Leeds are packed with good players. Let’s be honest you can’t fluke six Grand Finals can you? They have kept the nucleus of those sides too – Jamie Peacock, Kevin Sinfield, Danny Maguire, Rob Burrow and Kylie Leuluai – they have played a lot together and know each other’s games.

“As their older players go, they replace with quality. Keith Senior was replaced by Kallum Watkins and he is a talented player; a winger goes and Ben Jones-Bishop comes in and Brent Webb has been replaced by Zak Hardaker.

“They are a top club and we will need to play well.”

Saints come into the match on the back of a good run of form and Brown expects to field the same 17 that beat Hull KR on Friday.

“Most of the players came through ok, there were a couple of small bumps and bruises but we will look to play the same 17 as last week,” he continued. “That is important as the combinations have done well. How we are playing seems to suit the players too.

“The dynamics of the team have changed this season. We have had outside backs with a fair bit of size to them and now we have some genuine speed too. Both wingers can move, we have Jordan Turner in the centres and we have blokes who can go the distance.

“There is a good feeling in the squad. We have started well in games and that is important. We need to maintain that momentum and our intensity needs to be good.”

Tickets for the Elimination Semi Final on Friday at Headingley remain on sale.

You can buy from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.

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