Cunningham wary of underrated Widnes forwards

St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham is refusing to accept that Widnes have a weaker forward pack compared to other Super League teams.

Indeed, the Saints coach believes that the Widnes forwards are among some of the best of the homegrown talent in the competition.

“I think they’re great, they’re a great pack,” said Cunningham.

“They’ve held their own this year. They’ve got some real big hitting forwards and some big strong ball carriers.

“I think Denis has done a great job in bringing those kids through.

“They’ve got some big front rowers and exciting back rowers who are homegrown talent, and they’ve made a bit more dynamic.

“They’re going to be a handful, and you back that up with the likes of Kevin Brown, Lloyd White, Joe Mellor, and you look at the centres who are good, and they’ve got strike on the wings.

“They’re a very underestimated side are Widnes, and they’re playing well.

“They always hit their straps and play well against Saints – always.

“It’s renowned for being a local derby, and whether we play them at home or away it’s always really entertaining.

“We want to do a good job and hold our heads up high. We want to come away from the game being proud of our performance.

“I’d like to think the players will go there and do well against a good Widnes side.”

Saints suffered several injuries in last week’s game at Wakefield. Luke Walsh, Mark Percival, Mark Flanagan and Jonny Lomax are all out for the Widnes trip injured, while Kyle Amor is suspended.

“Irregardless of who was and who wasn’t going to be fit, it was always going to be a tough test for us,” Cunningham added.

“The boys are looking forward to the challenge of it, they enjoy backs against the wall, they enjoy that resilience thing.

“We’re comfortable with our team and comfortable with our squad. My front row is really good. The backs are really good.

“Everybody’s comfortable and we all know how to defend with each other, and attack with each other.

“We should go there and do a good job.

“If we turn up on the day and our mental attitude is right then we’ll give Widnes a good game.”

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