Burns lined up for hooking role

Travis Burns could make a surprise return to the St Helens squad at hooker for the World Club Series match against the Sydney Roosters.

Burns has been overlooked for Saints first two Super League games of the season. But with rake James Roby currently injured and battling to recover, the Australian stand-off is in line to replace him on Friday night.

St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham confirmed that he will make a decision on Thursday on Roby’s fitness.

“If he’s not 100% fit he won’t be playing against the Roosters,” he told Love Rugby League.

Cunningham said Burns has been training in the number 9 position.

“We’ll see where we’re heading,” he said.

“He might drop into that 9 role. We’ve been running him there in training, we’ve been running him there in the reserves game just to have a look at him.

“We’ve just got to see how he goes. He’s played a fair bit of footy at 9 for Penrith so he understands the role.

“He’s a physical person who likes mixing it a bit so it might suit us while Robes is sat on the sidelines. I’m sure he’ll feature but I’m not sure where.”

Nominally a halfback, Burns has featured at hooker previously in the NRL. Morgan Knowles and Theo Fages are also in the running for the 9 jersey.

Speculation has increased on Burns’ future after missing the first two rounds.

Cunningham said the 32-year old has handled his omission the same as other players.

“He’s deeply disappointed but he understands that every decision I make is not personal,” he said.

“It’s not personal attack on any of my players, I’ve got to find the right balance for the team and what’s right for the club.

“Unfortunately at the minute it’s not with Travis in the halves and we get a bit more better balance with Jordan Turner and Walsh, and Jon Wilkin and Luke Walsh.

“It just flows a bit better so, it’s a good challenge for Travis.”

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