St Helens suffer huge blow

St Helens are headed for France after defeating Warrington Wolves last week as they hope to meet the winners of Wigan Warriors vs Hull KR in the Grand Final.

But they suffered a huge blow with the loss of Joe Batchelor who is now set to miss the semi-final against Catalans Dragons.

This is after a hamstring injury against Warrington.

After the game Paul Wellens said on Saints TV:

“It puts pressure on your interchanges, obviously as a coach you sit there and you plan for the best case scenario but you have to obviously have other eventualities for them.

“We could put Sione Mata’utia into the back row and he’s a high quality back rower but it does put pressure on other guys to play bigger minutes.

“He played the full game, yes. Obviously he started in the middle and the view was to come off and re-enter but obviously losing Joe that early didn’t allow that to happen.

“He’s obviously disappointed. We obviously get a scan there and see the extent of the damage. It’s never a good time when a player leaves a field in that way but the best thing I can say is that Joe is not in there sulking. He’s enjoying the moment with the rest of his teammates.

“He’s a high-quality individual, although a bit disappointed he doesn’t let that show in front of everybody else.”

Saints do still have the star power to win including Jack Welsby:

“Yeah, he was excellent, We all know how good of a player Jack Welby is in terms of the stuff that he can do when he’s attacking the opponent but things like that (running the ball out from kicks) and things like cover tackles, which for me are a full-back’s bread and butter. He’s really developing on and adding that to his game.

“If he continues to do that consistently, he becomes a complete player.”

And of course James Roby:

“He just defies belief. There’s so many things I could say about him and I include Louie in this. There’s a big fanfare in the ground today, and a huge amount of love for two blokes and the biggest compliment I could pay them is that they actually are a bit embarrassed by it all .

“That just shows how down to earth and how humble they are as people but they deserve every superlative, every tap on the back that they get because they’re two incredible people who’ve been a massive massive income on this team and this club.

“I think it was a motivator but like I said earlier you have to manage the emotions there. It’s never just going to happen for you. People talk about fairy tales. I just think that’s nonsense.

“Fairy tales don’t exist unless you make them happen. That’s by going out on the field and working damn hard like those blokes have done throughout their whole career.

“The challenge then for the rest of the team is to approach it in the same way they do. They don’t want the fan fare or the fuss, they want to go out there and commit to their role. I thought we did a good job of that.”

“He’s always been a kind of an unflappable character, he’s always take things as he comes, so yeah, I’m sure that when he sits down and he reflects that he realises just how high he regards he is held.

“You can’t quantify it, but I hope it’s not lost on him or Louie because they’re both two unbelievable people.”