St Helens legend warns ‘phenomenal competitor’ to smarten up: ‘You just don’t do that’

Josh McAllister
Morgan Knowles, Alamy

PHOTO: Dean Williams / Alamy Stock Photo.

St Helens legend Paul Sculthorpe has hailed Morgan Knowles as a phenomenal competitor, but warns the loose forward to be ‘smarter’ with his game.

Knowles, 26, recently returned from his two-match ban to feature in the derby clash against Wigan last Friday at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

The latest suspension followed a massive five-game ban, having been charged with a Grade D on Good Friday against the Warriors for a hip-drop tackle, ending Mike Cooper’s season.

He was later sent off on his return game in the Challenge Cup victory over Halifax Panthers for a high tackle on Tom Inman in the dying minutes of the sixth round tie at the Shay.

It saw the England international handed his fifth ban in eight months, with a poor disciplinary record which has been highlighted by St Helens head coach Paul Wellens.

Knowles was also suspended for one-match for a late hit against Hull earlier in March with a £500 fine.

Boss Wellens took responsibility for his side’s poor disciplinary in their start to 2023, admitting he may not have been ‘strong enough’ with the group of players.

However, he called on his team to perform like a champion side, admitting that Knowles had aspects of his game he needed to work on.

“I can sit here confidently and say Morgan Knowles is one of if not the best middle forward in the competition and I wouldn’t want to swap him for anybody,” Wellens previously said.

“But at the same time, there are certain aspects of his game that he needs to improve on and we’ll start working on those.”

Paul Sculthorpe hails Morgan Knowles but issues ‘smarter’ warning

Speaking ahead of last week’s Round 15 Super League clash, and upon Knowles’ return, Sculthorpe praised the St Helens loose forward as a winner but issued a warning on his disciplinary – although no Saints players were charged by the match review panel following the 34-16 home victory.

Sculthorpe, now 45, represented England and Great Britain during his playing career, making 261 appearances for St Helens winning a total of four Grand Finals, four Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges.

The two-time Man of Steel winner said on Sky Sports: “I wouldn’t want to lose anything that Morgan Knowles brings.

“He’s a phenomenal competitor.

“He just needs to be a bit smarter. He got sent off in the last 20 seconds against Halifax with the game already won. You don’t need to do it. Just be smart with what you do.

“But he wins games for Saints by his competitive edge and willingness to put himself in the right positions.”

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