Casualty Ward: St Helens boost, Catalans blow, Connor debut & Leeds duo near return

Drew Darbyshire
Agnatius Paasi St Helens SWpix

Photo: David Neilson/SWpix

Keep up to date with the latest injury news in Casualty Ward, this week including boosts for St Helens and Leeds as well as updates from Warrington.

St Helens boost

The world champions could welcome back Tongan duo Agnatius Paasi and Will Hopoate for Friday’s trip to Leigh.

Saints boss Paul Wellens confirmed the news in his pre-match press conference ahead of last week’s 25-24 defeat to Leeds.

Captain James Roby has missed the last two games with a minor groin issue. But Wellens insisted that they are just taking extra care of the veteran hooker and that it isn’t too serious.

Castleford’s triple injury blow

Castleford coach Lee Radford confirmed three of his players suffered injuries in their 36-0 defeat to Wigan on Friday night.

The Tigers lost captain Paul McShane to a back spasm early on in his 200th appearance for the club.

On the other injuries Castleford picked up, Radford said: “Bureta Faraimo was a hip injury and Niall Evalds’ shoulder popped out.”

The Tigers travel to Huddersfield on Friday night.

Connor set for Huddersfield debut?

Huddersfield coach Ian Watson previously stated that star signing Jake Connor would be ready to make his debut in “round three or four”. The full-back didn’t play in their 8-0 win over Wakefield last week, so he could make his second debut for the Giants against Castleford on Friday night.

Meanwhile, Fiji captain Kevin Naiqama is expected to return for Huddersfield this week after missing their win at Wakefield.

Speaking after their Wakefield win, Watson said of Naiqama: “It’s early in the season, he’ll be okay. We didn’t want to push him.”

Leeds and Wakefield sweat on key men

Wakefield are likely to be without winger Lewis Murphy for next weekend’s trip to Leeds, who could be missing hooker Kruise Leeming.

Murphy went off in the first half during Wakefield’s 8-0 defeat at home to Huddersfield with a knee injury and didn’t return.

Coach Mark Applegarth was unsure how bad the injury is, but expects Murphy to miss the Leeds game.

Applegarth said: “We don’t know, we’ll scan him.

“It was a contest in the air. I don’t think he’ll be available for next week. It’s something to do with his knee. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious.”

Wakefield will be without full-back Max Jowitt for up to three months due to an ankle injury. Kelepi Tanginoa is expected to be sidelined for a few more rounds after tweaking a hamstring. Centre Reece Lyne has missed the last two games with a ‘medical issue’.

Leeming was forced off in their thrilling 25-24 win at champions St Helens.

It is feared that it could be a recurrence of the foot injury that kept him sidelined for a spell last season.

Leeming appeared to pick up the knock when retrieving the ball at the back of a scrum when the St Helens forward pack caught the Rhinos unaware.

Coach Rohan Smith said after the game: “He’s got a sore foot – he had a fracture in his foot last year and the sign is it’s in a similar spot so we just have to see what the X-rays say.”

Catalans blow

The Dragons enjoyed a strong 38-6 win over Hull on Friday, but it came at a cost. Young French half-back Cesar Rouge left the action just four minutes in to the match with a knee injury. His timeframe has yet to be confirmed.

Hull concerns

Hull duo Ben McNamara (shoulder) and Tex Hoy (back) suffered knocks in their defeat in the south of France.

Joe Cator (shoulder) was a late withdrawal before kick-off. All three players will be assessed further this week.

Wardle in, Wardle out?

Wigan centre Jake Wardle left the field for a head injury assessment in their 36-0 win at Castleford, but he soon returned to the action. He will be able to play against Catalans on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Jake’s brother Joe Wardle, who plays for Leigh, was spotted with his arm in a sling in their 30-25 win at Hull KR. It isn’t yet known what the damage is.

Leeds duo to return

Leeds will welcome back key forward Morgan Gannon for Friday’s home clash with Wakefield. The young talent missed their win at St Helens due to concussion, but that 12-day protocol would have passed by the time the Wakefield game comes around.

The Rhinos could also have James Bentley back in their side this week. The Ireland international was named in Rohan Smith’s 21-man squad for the Saints match, but didn’t make the matchday 17. He could make his return from a PCL knee injury this week.

Another injury blow to Salford’s pack

Salford coach Paul Rowley has confirmed they will be without key forward Alex Gerrard for six to eight weeks with a knee injury.

Wire update

Warrington youngster Adam Holroyd was forced from the field in the early stages of their 40-16 win over Salford in a reserves match on Saturday. (Warrington Guardian)

The 18-year-old started in their first team win at Huddersfield in Round Two; and was 18th man against Salford on Thursday. Warrington Guardian report Holroyd left the field with his arm in a sling in the reserves game.

Meanwhile, Wire coach Daryl Powell revealed to Love Rugby League last week that Joe Philbin is only two or three weeks away from returning to action.

Powell told Love Rugby League: “He’s such a committed professional rugby league player. I spoke to him after he did his ACL and he was so positive and determined to get back as soon as he could. He’s two or three weeks away from coming back now.”

Powell added that prop Gil Dudson is around two to three weeks away. Young forward Matty Nicholson could return within the next fortnight.

Our Casualty Ward feature is out every week with the latest injury news.

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