Joey Lussick: Paul Wellens confirms plan to recall St Helens hooker after period of reflection

Drew Darbyshire
Joey Lussick St Helens

St Helens coach Paul Wellens has confirmed he will bring hooker Joey Lussick back into his side for Friday’s clash with Castleford Tigers.

Lussick was 18th man for last Thursday’s 34-6 defeat at Hull FC, with Wellens opting to go with Morgan Knowles at nine with captain James Roby on the bench.

Lussick, who has played 16 games for Saints this season, will return to Wellens’ squad for Friday’s visit of Castleford.

“Joey will come back into the 17 this week,” Wellens said.

“It was a tough call last week and as a coach you reflect on decisions and I certainly don’t think the reason we lost the game was starting Morgan Knowles at nine.

“I thought the way Morgan went about his work and his intent in defence was really good but at the same time and on reflection, maybe make a different call – not because I think Morgan Knowles didn’t do a good job for us but as a coach you learn from your decisions so I will probably refer back to that this week.”

St Helens boss Paul Wellens on hooking options – James Roby, Joey Lussick, Morgan Knowles, James Bell, Jake Wingfield

Wellens has discussed plenty of options that his side have got at hooker, including utility forward Jake Wingfield, who is likely to be out for the remainder of the season.

“Don’t forget we’ve lost Jake Wingfield for 16 weeks as well and Jake is someone who has played a lot of nine in academy rugby so he would have been the most natural choice if James and Joey weren’t available,” Wellens added.

“What we do have to be open minded about is that if one or our nines were missing for a week or we were to give James a rest again, Morgan or a James Bell may have to go in there and play a bit of nine at times.

“It’s not obviously the preferred choice, but as we’ve seen with a number of players in our team in recent seasons, is that sometimes you have to put your hand up to play in certain positions and some players have done that in this team to great effect.

“It’s something you can never really rule out having to do.”

St Helens take on Castleford at The Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday, 8pm kick-off.

READ NEXT: St Helens recruitment update – Paul Wellens outlines retention ‘priorities’ with key players off-contract