St Helens boss provides the latest on Batchelor and Knowles injuries

Drew Darbyshire
Joe Batchelor St Helens SWpix

St Helens forward Joe Batchelor was pictured with his leg in a protective boot during their 30-18 win over St George Illawarra Dragons.

The England international started the game but was spotted in the sheds at half-time wearing a boot, sparking panic amongst Saints fans on social media.

But St Helens head coach Paul Wellens has reassured fans, saying it was only a precaution.

Wellens said: “He was put in a boot by the physios more so as a precaution.

“Until we get him checked out, Joe is pretty confident there is no serious damage there. Given the game and the way it was going, there was no need to force him to go back out there.”

Morgan Knowles “good to go next week”

Meanwhile, Morgan Knowles was the only member of Saints’ travelling squad who didn’t feature against the Dragons.

The England enforcer missed the game through illness. But Wellens is confident he’ll be back for the World Club Challenge against Penrith Panthers on Saturday.

Wellens said: “We had Morgan Knowles miss the game tonight. He was a little bit under the weather and not feeling too good.

“Morgan is an important player for us so we thought to push him to play tonight, particularly when you’re not feeling well in these conditions, it can knock you back two, three, four or five days so we didn’t want to do that to him. He’ll be good to go next week.”

And Wellens confirmed the plan was always to give only 40 minutes to Will Hopoate and Mark Percival, who have both struggled with injuries in the past.

He added: “The plan all along was for Mark and Will to play 40 minutes.

“Sometimes the temptation as a coach is that you want to push it for 50 or 60 because you want to see how much more you can get out of them. It was important tonight with those guys that we were really disciplined. We and and they got out of the game exactly what we wanted from them.”

St Helens boss lauds Welsby and Dodd

England’s rising stars Jack Welsby and Lewis Dodd impressed in their win over the Dragons, and received the plaudits from Wellens after the game.

He said: “In Lewis and Jack, we’ve got two great young lads who are an absolute pleasure to coach. Not only are they great players, but they are great blokes as well.

“We are delighted they are a part of our team and are determined on delivering success for us.

“They are two exciting young players who are already Super League’s best players.

“They are extremely well complimented by the older heads around them like James Roby and Jonny Lomax. Their progression has probably been accelerated by being around the likes of Jonny and James.”

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