Sal­ford pair bet­ter by halves!

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT - By TOM BRAMWELL

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.”

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