Amor upbeat about loss of Smith

St Helens prop Kyle Amor has stressed that the club has a good base of players to cover the loss of halfback Matty Smith, who recently underwent surgery on a broken leg.

The Super League season officially kicks off on Thursday as Saints entertain Leeds Rhinos at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Smith will miss the start of the campaign after injury in a friendly against Widnes.

“To lose him is not ideal but we are fortunate with the young kids who are coming through,” Amor said.

“A lot of them played in the under-19s Grand Final and know what is required and are game ready.

“We’ll adjust ourselves accordingly and I’ve no doubt the next man who is going to jump up in that halfback position will be ready and keen to go.”

When Saints were drawn at home in round one the 29-year old admitted everyone at the club was delighted.

“It’s always nice to get a home game,” Amor said.

“There’s a bit more buzz around round one.

“We’re extremely glad that we are at home and we’ll look to play a Leeds Rhinos side that I’m sure want to put a few wrongs right.”

After a treble-winning season for the Rhinos in 2015 Brian McDermott’s men endured a contrasting 12 months, which involved fighting to preserve their Super League status.

But Amor thinks they will be much improved in 2017.

“They’ve got a lot of quality players in their team and I very much doubt they will replicate last season,” he said.

“If you’re a betting man you wouldn’t put any money on it.”

It might have been two years without any silverware since Kieron Cunningham was named head coach, but Amor admits he has definitely seen the club progress.

“Now what we’re noticing is the young kids that are coming up into the first team are game ready and they know everything what it means to be a St Helens player,” he said.

“We got to two semi-finals so with the people that he’s brought in we believe that’s the catalyst for us to go forward and certainly challenge and win things.”

Cunningham spent his entire playing career with the Merseyside club and so it is clear to see how much it means to him that the club succeeds under his leadership, according to Amor.

The former Wales, Great Britain and Saints hooker scored 175 tries in 496 appearances during a 16-year period.

“If you really genuinely care about something and it’s in your blood then you’re going to give it everything you’ve got and that is what Kez does,” he said.

“This year he’s already put his marker down that if you’re not playing and producing what St Helens players are required to do then they’ll pick somebody else because we’ve got a good enough squad.”

Two of the new arrivals include forwards Adam Walker and Luke Douglas who Amor thinks will both be good assets for the club.

Walker agreed a two-year deal after moving from Hull KR whilst Douglas switched NRL for Super League after his arrival from the Gold Coast Titans.

Both players were part of the Scotland team that became the first fourth-ranked side to earn a point at the Four Nations last year.

“With Luke Douglas you get a genuine leader and I think last year we were guilty of being inconsistent but he’ll certainly bring that consistency throughout our middle unit as well,” he said.

Adam Walker’s got an exciting offloading game which will hopefully bring the likes of Jonny [Lomax] and [James] Roby into the game a bit more.”

Amor added the Scotland internationals are two of an exciting group of attacking players who will line up for Saints this season.

“We’ve also got Ryan Morgan on our right side,” the front-rower said.

“With Mark Percival on our left centre it’s a good attacking edge on both sides.

“We believe we’ve got the best squad we’ve had for a long time and we look forward to Leeds at home on Thursday.”

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