St Helens dealt major injury blow with key trio to undergo surgery – but key man to return

Aaron Bower
Morgan Knowles

St Helens' Morgan Knowles in action in 2024

St Helens have been dealt a huge triple injury blow with Paul Wellens confirming that three senior players, including Morgan Knowles, have undergone surgery and will be missing for prolonged periods.

Knowles has played with a groin injury for a number of weeks, and the Saints have opted to send him in for surgery which will rule him out for around six weeks. It is a bitter blow for the Saints – and Wellens‘ problems have only deepened further with two more key lay-offs.

Young forward Jake Wingfield is expected to be missing for the next four months after undergoing shoulder surgery – while star signing Matt Whitley is also set for a three-month lay-off after having a shoulder operation last week, too.

It is the loss of Knowles, however, which will be the most newsworthy and significant for the Saints. Wellens insisted that they could not take any risks on the forward any longer, given how he has been playing with a problem.

“Morgan has undergone groin surgery to repair some issue, and thats looking like a five to six week blow for him,” Wellens said.

“All those injured players are a big miss and that’s the challenge of a Super League season. Coping when you have a fair bit of adversity.

“But he’s been carrying this problem for a long period and never quite got it right. He’s always been prepared to put his hand up for the team and play busted but the time has come for us to be sensible.”

When asked about Wingfield and Whitley, Wellens said: “Jake has gone in for another shoulder repair and that’s looking like a 16-week layoff.

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“I said after the Castleford game it’s hugely disappointing but what I know about the kid is he’s a resilient lad and he’s had to be. He’s had some huge setbacks already but I know he’s up for the challenge head on. We’ll do everything we can to support him.

“Matt Whitley has had a shoulder operation which will keep him out for 12 weeks. That’s another huge blow given Matty has been a huge success story since joining at the start of the year. We’ll miss a player of his quality.”

However, there is some good news – with Agnatius Paasi coming through his comeback in the reserves last week at Castleford: and he could be named in Wellens’ 21-man squad to face Leeds on Friday night.

Wellens said: “He came through really well. There’s a fair chance I’m going to name him in the 21 this week. That’s not to necessarily say he’s going to play, but we’ve had a 13-on-13 field session and he’s took full part in it.

“He’s the kind of guy who, because we’re light in the middles, he would be happy to put his hand up. But I’ve got to get the information back from the session and work out how we move forward with Agnatius.”

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