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Flanagan keen to stay a Saint

Flanagan keen to stay a Saint

by: Total Rugby League, July 22, 2014, 2:15 pm

St Helens forward Mark Flanagan admits he would be keen to play for the club for a “very long time” in order to put an end to a career of serious club-hopping.

Flanagan, 26, made his 100th career appearance on Saturday in Saints’ heavy win over London. But his century has involved six different clubs.

However, the former Wests Tigers NRL player admits that with one year left on his current deal, he would love to extend it.

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“I’ve had more clubs than Tiger Woods, although I think I’ve benefited from playing in different environments,” Flanagan told this week’s League Express.

Flanagan has played club rugby for Halifax (9 loan games, 2008), Wigan (11 games, 2009), Wests Tigers (27 games, 2010-2011), Rochdale (3 dual-registration games, 2014) and current club St Helens (50 games, 2012-2014).

“Halifax was a real big one for me; if you want to develop as a young player it’s usually a good idea to play ‘men’s rugby’ early on, so that time at Halifax was a real eye-opener.

“I love it at Saints; there’s always a reason why I’ve moved clubs – largely due to learning some new experiences. But my time at Saints is absolutely brilliant, I’ve been here a while now and I’ve still got another year on my contract. Browny is trying to build a successful team here for years to come and I want to be part of it.

“It’d be great to go on and play for St Helens for a very long time.”

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Flanagan has challenged Saints to snap their inconsistent form ahead of the business end of the season – despite them sitting at the top of Super League with just six rounds remaining. Nathan Brown’s men were far from their best against the Broncos, which Flanagan openly admits, and he said they will have to step up ahead of Friday’s clash against Widnes Vikings.

“We were inconsistent again, but fair play to the Broncos. They scored a couple of good tries and they’ve got a really good team down there. They caused us some problems at times, but we need to be a lot better than that.

“I think it’s time for us to start hitting form; we can’t expect to go a full season playing how we are and expect to win the big one come the end of the campaign. I think we’ve got to start hitting some form and hit the ground running as we approach the end of the season, because teams like Wigan, Leeds, Warrington and Castleford are all going well. We can’t rely on other teams; we have to improve.”

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Three of Saints’ title rivals are still in the Challenge Cup, and Flanagan believes the free weekends they are due to have will be crucial in the long run.

“There’s an argument to say we’ll be fresher than those teams,” added Flanagan.

“They’re going to be playing one or two games more than us whilst we can use those weekends to freshen up and get fitter. We can get our bodies back out on the field and it definitely makes a difference.

“Rugby League is a brutal sport, so to have a couple of extra weeks to rest will do us good.”

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