Salford stand-off Tui Lolohea has backed new halfback partner Kevin Brown to surprise people in 2020, after spending a year out of Super League.
Former England international Brown suffered a ruptured Achilles whilst at Warrington before the start of last season, eventually playing three games for Leigh on loan following his recovery.
He replaces Wigan-bound Jackson Hastings and while Lolohea admits it’s a blow to lose the reigning Man of Steel, he says he’s been impressed by Brown.
“Obviously Jacko (Hastings) is a class player,” he said. “He ran the ball and that’s how he played, with the halves taking the line on and that suited me.
“But Kevin Brown’s come in and got a full pre-season under his belt. The chat is always there because we’re the thinkers of the team, so we’re always trying to help each other get better and that’s how it should be.
“He had a big injury but from what I’ve seen so far, he’s going to surprise a lot of people this year and I’m excited to be working with him.”
Brown is one of 12 new recruits, after the Devils lost several key players in the off-season, including Super League Dream Team back rower Josh Jones, outside back Jake Bibby and forward George Griffin.
Such a huge squad shake up has prompted many to doubt the club again in 2020 but Lolohea insists those doubts, similar to last year, will motivate them even more.
“One thing (Ian) Watto (Watson) said to us is that he brought these players in because he wanted an aggressive team.
“He’s brought in big powerhouses of Pauli (Pauli), Seb (Ikahihifo), and (Luke) Yatesy who’s just a workhorse, so that shows the style of footy he wants us to play.
“Every team has the goal of being in the Grand Final, while for me, I just want to be consistent.
“There’s already been people giving us no chance again this season, so it’s going to be good to go out there and prove people wrong.
“When we start winning games, people will probably realise what we’re like – we’re going to let our talking happen on the field.”