St Helens full-back Lachlan Coote says he’s been overawed by the reception of Saints fans since making the move from the NRL ahead of a blockbuster Good Friday derby.
The 29-year-old has been credited with pushing Saints to the summit of Super League this season by supporters, who unveiled a special new song dedicated to the Scotland international last week in the win against Warrington.
And the former North Queensland Cowboys man admitted to being blown away by the reception of his fans as he now aims to repay the favour by hitting the high notes against arch rivals Wigan.
“I honestly can’t get it [the song] out of my head, it’s been stuck in there since Friday,” Coote laughed.
“It was an emotional night when I walked across to that stand and they were all singing it. It’s something that I’ve never experienced before and something that I can’t thank the fans enough for.
“The fans always say: ‘just beat Wigan’. So, we only have to win three games!
“It means a lot to the fans about beating them and winning the derby. It’s going to mean a lot this weekend and I am looking forward to a good test.”
🗣 “It’s Lachlan Coooooooote, he’s the reason we are top of the league this season, setting up Tommy and Regannnnnnnn!” 🎵
It’s…….Lachlan Coooooooooote! 🎵 🔴⚪️
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) April 12, 2019
Coote arrived at Saints with the almost impossible task of replacing Super League’s 2018 Man of Steel, Ben Barba, but his presence is already long forgotten with Coote quickly becoming a fan favourite.
While Friday’s fierce 365th derby clash is far from the New South Wales’ town in which he grew up, Coote admits he’s never experienced a rivalry quite like what’s on offer between Saints and Wigan.
“Round one was awesome to be a part of and the atmosphere we played under was an awesome atmosphere,” he added.
“It’s really something we don’t get over in Australia with the way the fans battle each other in the stands.
“Justin [Holbrook] harps on about how big it is and how big it is for the fans and that’s what the players are talking about how important the game is and what games they have had in the past and how they have turned out as well.
“Being here now I realise how much it means to the fans and the players as well.”
With Saints aiming to replicate last season’s League Leaders’ Shield triumph, bookmakers are tipping the visitors to reign supreme at the DW Stadium on Friday.
But when it comes to a meeting of two neighbours that have dominated the sport, form counts for nothing on the day in the eyes of Coote.
“It doesn’t matter where you are sitting in games like this and I am sure that Wigan are not happy with where they are sitting,” he continued.
“They want that win and another two points up for grabs and they are going to be wanting to get that, but even more so against us.”
Wigan Warriors take on St Helens in the fiercest rivalry in rugby league at the DW Stadium on Friday April 19th, kick-off 3pm. Secure your seat today by calling the DW Stadium ticket office on 01942 311111 or by visiting https://wiganwarriors.com/tickets.
By Max Chesterton