Paul Wellens explains late Mark Percival withdrawal

Josh McAllister
Mark Percival, PA Images

Picture by Martin Rickett/PA Wire/PA Images.

St Helens boss Paul Wellens has explained the late withdrawal to Mark Percival ahead of their Super League clash with Hull at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Percival, 28, was originally named at centre for Friday’s Round Five clash. However, he was replaced by off-season recruit Tee Ritson ahead of kick-off. The change saw Tommy Makinson move to the centres.

The side went on to return to winning ways, claiming a 20-12 victory at home over Tony Smith’s side.

Wellens has revealed that Percival pulled out late due to a calf issue, with the severity yet unknown. The club are hoping for nothing significant, but will check on the player in the coming week.

Wellens on Mark Percival

“Mark just pulled up with a tight calf in warm-up,” Wellens explained.

“He was saying, as you’d expect, that he’d be OK and could play. But what we’re not in the business of is taking silly risks with players, and important players like Mark.

“We’re not quite sure of the extent of the damage.

“It’s a tight calf, it could be nothing or it could be significant that we need to get checked out, but we certainly weren’t going to take any risks.”

It saw loanee winger Ritson make just his second appearance of the season, having made a try-scoring debut against Castleford in Round Two.

“Tee found out he was playing basically one minute before the game,” Wellens continued.

“The back-end of the warm-up was when Mark Percival felt tight.

“It speaks volumes of Tee’s professionalism, the way he’s prepared to play even those he’s not playing, and could switch the flick to play and go out there and perform and deliver the standards that we expect here.

“He was outstanding.”

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