Star set for four weeks out as Wellens provides major injury update with St Helens stretched thin

St Helens are pursuing a fifth straight Grand Final victory and after a stuttering start to the season they’re a team finding form at the right time with victory over Leeds Rhinos last week lifting them to fourth, just two points behind Leigh Leopards and Wigan Warriors with a game in hand on the pair.

Whilst a League Leaders Shield might be out of the question for Paul Wellens in his first year in charge a trip to Old Trafford is still firmly in reach but the battle for second place and that all important home semi-final in the playoffs being the next target.

Saints travel to Salford on Sunday with the Red Devils on the other end of the form spectrum having lost their last five in the league, however it won’t be simple for the Red Vee with Wellens having confirmed that the side are once again busted up and short on senior players due to injury.

The first confirmed absence, and perhaps the biggest blow, was centre Konrad Hurrell with the Tongan set for a spell on the sidelines.

“Yes, so unfortunately we’ve lost Konrad on the weekend. Konrad’s got a bit of a torn calf,” Wellens told SaintsTV.

“I’ve got to pay him a fair bit of respect, to be honest. He did that very early on in the game and managed to stay out there on the field and get through the 80 minutes.

“It’s testament to his toughness as a player but unfortunately we will probably be missing Konrad now for close to four weeks.”

Four weeks will mean Hurrell should be back in time for the playoffs, and perhaps even manage minutes in the last two games of the season to get some playing time back under his belt. but for the foreseeable it’s a big loss.

The forward pack is where Saints have been hurt the most with both Agnatius Paasi and Alex Walmsley out for the season, and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook also injured during their Challenge Cup semi-final against Leigh.

Wellens explained they could be boosted this weekend though: “We’re hopeful that Curtis Sironen might be a chance of playing this weekend, he’s trained with the team this afternoon and obviously we’ll have to check his response but hopefully he’ll come back into the 21 definitely with a view to playing him on the weekend.

“We won’t take unnecessary risks and for Joe Batchelor, this week will come too soon for him, we’re hopeful for Huddersfield but similar to Curtis we just have to monitor him as the weeks and days pass.”

Into the backs and Tommy Makinson’s injury persists whilst fellow winger Jon Bennison could return next week, but there might be a like for like replacement for Hurrell this weekend.

“He’ll definitely be no chance for next week,” Wellens said on Makinson.

“Probably unlikely for the week after, well hopefully the week after that. It’s one of those situations where we really need to get the swelling to subside which will hopefully free up his knee joints but at this moment in time he’s a fair bit away from playing.

“With John Bennison, he’s had some ankle ligament damage. There’s a chance he may be okay for Huddersfield next week. If not, then the week after.

“Mark’s (Percival) in line to play this week, it was important that we give Mark the necessary time after his head knock that he’s picked up in the game against Catalans. We gave him that extra week, we’ve had the clearance off the neurosurgeon during the course of the week, so Mark is in like to play.”

A final long-term injury is that of Jake Winfield with Wellens confirming that the loose forward has undergone surgery but would be touch-and-go on if he can make a return in 2023.

“Jake Winfield had a Latarjet shoulder surgery a number of weeks ago now. Now there’s an outside chance that Jake could make it back for the back end of the year, but again we’ll only be able to ascertain that in the nearer the time.”