Kristian Woolf confident of welcoming back duo for semi-final clash

Kristian Woolf St Helens

St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf is confident of welcoming back duo Mark Percival and Sione Mata’utia for their semi-final clash against Salford.

The reigning champions host the Red Devils this Saturday at the Totally Wicked Stadium, with just 80 minutes separating either side from Old Trafford.

Percival, 28, has been limited to just 12 Super League appearances this season due to injuries. However, St Helens boss Woolf is sure that the centre will make a welcomed return for their televised clash.

Meanwhile, back-rower Mata’utia suffered a minor injury earlier in August. The foot injury has sidelined the 26-year-old since the 60-6 victory over Hull.

In a blow to both St Helens and England, the club has confirmed that prop forward Alex Walmsley will miss the rest of the 2022 due to injury.

Kristian Woolf provides injury update

“It’s the strongest side that we’ve thrown out since way before Magic Weekend,” said Woolf. “We’re really confident in that.

“I’m really confident that those two guys (Percival and Mata’utia) will be available. They both did a fair bit of training at the back end of last week with the squad. They’ve done some training this week.

“We’ve still got another training session tomorrow that we’ve got to get through and we’ve got to see where guys are at and make sure things haven’t been aggravated.

“What we won’t do in a game like this, and I’ve made this mistake before, is throwing someone out there who’s not quite ready to play 80 minutes in the toughest game of the year so far. They tend to let you down, not because they want to let you down, but because you’ve made the wrong decision so you’ve let yourself down.”

On Percival, Woolf continued: “Mark is one of the most natural football players that I’ve ever dealt with.

“He’s an outstanding player and an elite player. I think you could easily say that he’s the best centre in the competition or the most influential centre in the competition. He plays what he sees and he plays tough. He’s a player you want in your team in the big games.”

Meanwhile, Woolf is confident goal-kicking winger Tommy Makinson is back to full fitness for the knock-out fixture.

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About Josh McAllister 1909 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.

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