Pryce - Injuries are key

St Helens star believes side with least injuries will lift title

By Simon Dilger.   Last Updated: 13/04/08 4:49pm

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Pryce: Hat trick on Friday night

Pryce: Hat trick on Friday night

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St Helens star Leon Pryce is convinced that staying fit will the major factor in deciding this season's Super League champions.

"I think this year's competition will be about who can keep their best team on the field and stay injury-free."
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The Great Britain internaitonal believes that the club that can keep the most players healthy has the best chance of lifting the title at Old Trafford.

St Helens have struggled in recent weeks with forwards Nick Fozzard, Lee Gilmour, James Graham and Keiron Cunningham all sidelined.

But on Friday night they ended a miserable run of three straight defeats with a 58-12 demolition of Harlequins at Knowsley Road.

Winning ways

"It seems quite a while since we've had a happy changing room at the end of a match," said Pryce, who ran in three of Saints' 10 tries.

"It was nice to get back to winning ways. I've always felt that we've not been that far away from playing well.

"But with the amount of injuries we've had this year - and sometimes making defensive mistakes that we're not really used to making - we've made it very hard for ourselves.

"I think this year's competition will be about who can keep their best team on the field and stay injury-free.

"Whoever can do that has the best chance of winning the most games because the teams who have picked up quite a lot of injuries have struggled.

"You look at Hull and ourselves and Bradford, we've all struggled when we've had injuries, so it's tough.

"But we'll get on with it and hopefully our young kids will come in and do a job for us. And when we get our big boys back we'll be confident of winning more games."

Influential skipper Paul Sculthorpe made a successful comeback against Harlequins and Cunningham is set to return to action next Sunday when Saints face London Skolars in the Challenge Cup.

Competitive

Pryce believes that the salary cap, which prevents clubs from spending more than half their income on players' wages, has also played a significant role in making the Super League more competitive.

He added; "I think you're starting to see the full effect of the salary cap.

"The teams are evening out and every team can beat each other. You saw that last year and even more so this year."

Recently both St Helens and reigning champions Leeds have suffered defeats at the hands of bottom club Castleford.

And although both clubs have championed the development of homegrown talent Pryce maintains that when a team is struggling it is better to stick with experience.

He said; "I'm a firm believer in that it's okay to bring youth in when things are going well but when things aren't going well they've really got to step up and play above their average.

"It's a hard time come in and play because the pressure is on."

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