St Helens coach Brown takes swipe at Wigan Warriors after Flower tackle

Ben Flower
Ben Flower

BEATEN St Helens coach Nathan Brown took a swipe at Wigan after the champions battled to a 28-16 friendly victory at Langtree Park last night.

Brown revealed Saints’ Australian signing Luke Walsh was taken for scans on a suspected broken jaw after being floored by Ben Flower late on.

Brown said: “He got hit in the head didn’t he? Without the ball.

“You know that’s going to happen when you play Wigan. That’s standard with their front-rowers.

“It happened to Gaz O’Brien last year and whatever happens (with the disciplinary), it happens.

“But if it doesn’t, we move on.”

Wigan coach Shaun Wane says he didn’t notice the incident, and instead chose to praise the overall quality of their performance – and intensity of the friendly, which doubled up as a testimonial for Saints’ long-serving hooker James Roby.

“I didn’t see anything in it,” he said.

“I honestly didn’t see it, I thought it was a good game, an intense match, and a typical derby.

“It was a great performance from us. We looked fit and strong. We did some good things, I know we only scored one try in the first-half but I was chilled because we attacked well and we just needed to be a bit more patient.”

Liam Farrell scored scored Wigan’s try in the first half as they trailed 12-6, but they took a lead through quickfire tries from Joe Burgess and Blake Green from the restart.

Burgess added a second try to open up a 22-16 lead late on, before Gil Dudson sealed victory in the final minute.

Wane rested Matty Bowen at half-time and later withdrew Sean O’Loughlin, Green and Matty Smith to give some of his fringe players a chance.

“The young kids who are coming through, they did well,” he said.

“All of our middles defended really well.

“I was impressed with everybody. We can go into this week very confident.”

New signing Eddy Pettybourne had fans chanting his name with some eye-catching contributions in both attack and defence.

His effort was matched by some strong displays from props Scott Taylor and Flower.

In fairness to Brown, aside from Flower’s challenge on Walsh, he was full of praise for the champions and reckons they will be the team to beat this year.

“You don’t fluke doing the double, they looked more fluid than us, they were very effective,” he said. “It was a good intense game, and they are a terrific side.”

Wigan face Huddersfield at home in next Friday’s Super League opener.

London Broncos yesterday completed the signing of Australian prop Nick Slyney from Brisbane Broncos.

The 25-year-old made his National Rugby League debut for the North Queensland Cowboys in 2008 and has spent the last two seasons in Brisbane.