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Kristian Woolf describes St Helens star as most influential player in his position in Super League

Ahead of their semi-final against Salford as they go in search of a record breaking fourth consecutive title, St Helens were hit with some bad news.

Star forward Alex Walmsley will miss the game and the rest of 2022 with a foot injury in a blow for England’s World Cup hopes as well as St Helens’ title hopes.

This was exacerbated by the continued absence of the likes of Will Hopoate who would’ve added something extra to the St Helens attack in a huge semi-final against the free scoring Red Devils.

However, this bad news was ameliorated by the inclusion of Mark Percival and Sione Mata’utia in the squad after injury layoffs.

Though a return for both isn’t confirmed, it is indeed likely and both have been brilliant this year when fit.

Going into Saturday’s game, Woolf spoke fondly of Mark Percival who is pursuing his third Grand Final win after missing the 2020 decider with injury,

Woolf believes that Percival is the most influential centre in the league able to impact games massively from out wide.

“You could easily say he is the most influential centre in the competition,” Woolf said, “The way he plays, off the cuff, plays what he sees and plays tough and competes hard.

“He is a player you want in your team in the big games.”

Percival may indeed be the best centre in Super League but his injuries have seen him miss out on the Dream Team in 2022 with Tim Lafai of Salford and Shaun Kenny-Dowall of Hull KR selected.

It’ll be interesting to see which player shines more on Saturday out of Percival and Lafai though Lafai is likely to battle with Konrad Hurrell over on the Saints right whilst Percival will take on one of the best finds of the season in Deon Cross.

Percival may have missed out on the Dream Team but he will be a shoe in for England if fit especially with the likes of Harry Newman carrying injuries still.

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