Key player to return for St Helens as Paul Wellens draws comparisons with Huddersfield

Drew Darbyshire
Paul Wellens St Helens SWpix

Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix

St Helens coach Paul Wellens has confirmed that star centre Mark Percival is set to return for their clash with Huddersfield at Magic Weekend.

Percival, 29, hasn’t played since their 26-14 defeat at Hull KR on April 14 due to a hamstring injury.

But the champions are set to be boosted by Percival’s return when they face Huddersfield at St James’ Park on Sunday, 2:15pm kick-off.

“There is a really good chance Mark Percival will play,” Wellens said.

“He’s trained with the team today and has come through the session pretty well, so as long as there’s no adverse reactions from that there’s a chance Mark will come back into the team.

“It is a welcome return for someone who is a very influential player for us.”

Paul Wellens draws comparisons between St Helens and Huddersfield after mixed starts

St Helens and Huddersfield head in to Sunday’s Magic clash in seventh and ninth place respectively.

The Saints have won seven from 12 so far, whilst the Giants have won five in a mixed start to the campaign for both clubs.

When asked what he made of Huddersfield so far in 2023, Wellens replied: “I think a bit like ourselves, they’ve been a little bit inconsistent but have shown when they get it right what a formidable team they are.

“They are a very hard-working team and a team that’s prepared to do the tough stuff for long periods.

“We are well aware of the challenges that face us, obviously we run in to a few old friends in Theo Fages and Kevin Naiqama, which I know having worked with those guys personally, the standards that they set themselves and the standards they ask of those around them.

“Huddersfield are going to be very motivated on Sunday and we’re going to have to counter that.”

It’s a kind of Magic

The future of Super League’s Magic Weekend is up in the air, with global media giants IMG having been brought in to the sport to help ‘re-imagine’ rugby league, but Wellens revealed his admiration for the Magic concept.

He said: “I’ve always enjoyed the experience. It is a bit different.

“You get to play at some new stadiums that you don’t normally get the opportunity to do.

“I think within rugby league, it is quite unique that as a sport, we can take fans from 12 different clubs, stick them all in one stadium on a weekend and there’ll be very little bother, if any at all.

“It is something I think we should celebrate as a sport and it has been a positive influence on the game.”

St Helens’ clash with Huddersfield takes place at St James’ Park on Sunday, 2:15pm kick-off.

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