St Helens boss provides injury latest including James Roby and Joe Batchelor

Josh McAllister
St Helens Paul Wellens coach in World Club Challenge

St Helens head coach Paul Wellens has provided the latest on his squad’s fitness as the world champions prepare for their return to Super League action. 

The record-breaking side claimed the World Club Challenge title with a 13-12 victory over Penrith over the weekend in Australia and return to action in Super League Round Two against Castleford this Sunday.

Captain James Roby is among those players who could miss out on the clash at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle. The 37-year-old hooker has been sent for scans following his big-minute performance against the Panthers.

Meanwhile, Wellens has revealed a timeframe for back-rower Joe Batchelor, who recently underwent surgery following an ankle injury sustained against St George Illawarra Dragons.

“Tommy won’t be available. Obviously he’s got to do his head injury assessment protocol,” Wellens confirmed during his pre-match press conference back on home soil.

“There’s a few with bumps and bruises. It was obviously well known Joe Batchelor is going to be out long-term. He had his surgery this week. 

“James Roby has gone for scans. We’ll make a late call on James. We understand there’s a lot of rugby league to be played from now until October. So we don’t want to place unnecessary pressure on players where we don’t have to.

“At the same time, my mindset going into this week is we pick our strongest possible 17 to go to Castleford.”

On Batchelor, Wellens continued: “We’re thinking about eight-to-10 weeks. Probably more 10, which is obviously disappointing. But it’s part and parcel of the game and those things that we have to deal with. 

“Knowing Joe like we do here, he’s really diligent in the way he goes about his work. He’ll do everything he can to get himself back on the field sooner rather than later.”

Tee Ritson Super League debut?

A vacant spot on the wing could see off-season recruit Tee Ritson make his Super League debut.

Ritson made the move from Barrow ahead of the 2023 campaign on loan, and scored his first try for the club in the 30-18 victory over St George in the NRL’s pre-season challenge.

The 27-year-old scored 70 tries in 73 appearances for hometown club Barrow.

“Tee comes into the reckoning,” Wellens told Love Rugby League.

“Obviously we brought him in and not primarily to be a back up winger at all. We wanted Tee to come in and really drive and push for a starting spot here at the club.

“And he’s done a fantastic job throughout pre-season. The group have really taken him on board in terms of him showing the kind of work ethic, dedication and commitment that we spoke about what this team pride themselves on.

“Tee has done everything that has been asked of him since he’s come to the club and puts himself in a great position to play on Sunday.”

Tee Ritson: Everything you need to know about St Helens’ new recruit

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