Latest update on injured St Helens star ahead of World Club Challenge

St Helens coach Paul Wellens was in good spirits after their win over St George Illawarra Dragons ahead of next week’s World Club Challenge against Penrith Panthers.

The Super League Champions beat the Dragon 30-18 in only Wellens’ second game in charge and he told Saints TV that he was pleased with how the game went:

“Very happy with the plan tonight as a playing group in how we wanted to approach the game and the lads were brilliant on that.

“We know that next week comes a bigger challenge for us and it’s one that we’re extremely excited about and looking forward to.

“But we’re delighted with today.”

He also picked out four players who impressed him today:

“I thought everyone put their hands up to be fair. There were a few who impressed me, I thought Alex Walmsley was excellent in the way that he started the game. When Big Al is in that mood he is very hard to handle.

“I thought Konrad Hurrell and Curtis Sironen were great for us but the stand out was Sione Mata’utia. He played long minutes and really stood up for us.”

Thus, Wellens seemed in a good mood but this was despite the fact Joe Batchelor was pictured in a surgical boot after the game and hardly played.

However, according to ZeroTackle, the boot was merely a precaution with the Australian publication reporting that Wellens said:

“He was put in a boot by the physios more so as a precaution,” Wellens said post-match.

“Until we get him checked out, Joe is pretty confident there is no serious damage there.

“Given the game and the way it was going, there was no need to force him to go back out there.”

Meanwhile, Morgan Knowles missed out as a precaution.

Wellens explained his absence prior to the game.

“It is pretty much as you’d expect. We wanted to field our strongest team possible,” Wellens said on Saints’ Twitter page.

“Unfortunately one guy hasn’t made it in Morgan Knowles. He has been a little under the weather this week.

“Given the fact we have a really important game next week and if he goes out there and plays and isn’t 100% it could set his recovery back a few days so we have taken the sensible approach with him.

“He’s raring to go and looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s a reward for James Bell for his efforts since he came back from training and the way he has gone about his work. We’re looking forward to seeing him out.

“I’m extremely excited but I’m more excited for the players.”

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