Salford pair better by halves!
THEY might be rivals for a spot in the halves at Salford next season, but former Swinton Lions playmaker Chris Atkin is delighted with the impact fellow new arrival Kevin Brown is having on the Red Devils in pre-season.
Brown played in the 2017 World Cup final and brings a wealth of experience to the squad and Atkin is keen to soak up as much as possible.
“Training with Kev’s similar to being with Danny McGuire at Hull KR,” explained Atkin. “It’s those day-to-day standards they set. They’ve been at the top of their game because they push themselves at every opportunity.
“They work hard and having those conversations, whether it’s on the field or after sessions, on the little things and how you can improve, is great. Not only for myself but for the whole squad.”
Though naturally a halfback, Atkin filled in at fullback during his spell with the Lions and spent plenty of time at hooker while at KR - and has been gaining an insight into how he could support Brown in a number of roles next season.
He said: “[Brown] spent a bit of time with Connor [Jones], giving his input on what he likes to see from a nine and I can be part of those conversations and understand it from that side as well.
“He’s come here to work hard and he’s certainly set a standard.”
Atkin and Brown have arrived following Jackson Hastings’ departure and will compete with incumbent halfback Tui Lolohea for the two spots in Ian Watson’s starting lineup.
Since the Grand Final, Lolohea has excelled at international level with Tonga - where he was shortlisted for the prestigious Golden Boot Award following impressive victories over Great Britain and Australia - and Atkin is excited to work with the ex-Leeds man when he returns for pre-season next week.
“Between the three of us, Watto’s assembled a good group of halfbacks and there should be competition in that position,” said Atkin.
“When Tui comes back he’ll bring another dimension, a little bit different to me and Kev, so I’m looking forward to working with him. It’s going to be difficult for teams to look at us and think we’ll be playing one way.”