Over the weekend, there wasn’t too many top Super League stars in action.
The likes of Salford Red Devils, Leeds Rhinos, Wakefield Trinity, Castleford Tigers and Wigan Warriors had reserves or academy friendlies over the weekend.
However, down under the Super League Champions St Helens were in action against St George Illawarra Dragons with their strongest line-up out to prepare for next week’s World Club Challenge against Penrith.
After the game coach Paul 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.
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.”
The only other side to field a full strength team were the Huddersfield Giants who would have been St Helens’ Round One opponents but that game has been postponed due to the World Club Challenge meaning the Giants won’t start the season until Round Two.
Over the weekend, Ian Watson named his strongest side against Dewsbury Rams but of course couldn’t field Jake Connor as he continues his recovery.
Watson gave an update on him last week:
“I’m quite hopeful that it might be like Round Three which will be awesome for us, but what we need to do is make sure he comes back at the right time… what we’ve bought Jake for is to build a team and build a legacy going forward.”
He added: “If he misses round 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, it’s not too much of a problem; it’s about building to where we want to get to.”
St George vs St Helens
Joe Batchelor – St Helens (leg)
Morgan Knowles – St Helens (precaution_
Huddersfield vs Dewsbury
Jake Connor – Huddersfield (recovery)