Given Jack Welsby has an incredible try-scoring record against Hull FC, it was a surprise not to see him included on the St Helens team sheet at the weekend.
Welsby, 21, had only missed one game in the whole season before yesterday, starting in the other 24 and scoring 11 tries.
In his last five appearances against Hull FC, Welsby had scored nine tries including two hat-tricks.
But coach Kristian Woolf decided to take him out of the firing line and give him a well-earned rest.
While Hull may have been relieved not to see his name on the team sheet, it mattered little as Saints ran in 11 tries in a 60-6 pasting.
Woolf told Saints TV: “Unfortunately Jack copped a number of bumps last week and we said after the game he was pretty battered and bruised.
“He’s been carrying a couple of niggles for the last couple of weeks so it was a smart decision to not play him today.
“If we put him out there, we’d put him at real risk of having significant time out and we’re not prepared to take that risk with a player like him.”
Saints pull clear at the top
It proved to be a shrewd call by the Saints coach, with Will Hopoate having a fine game at full-back and Ben Davies scoring two tries from stand-off.
Saints also welcomed back Agnatius Paasi and Sione Mata’utia in the emphatic victory.
The win over Hull, their biggest of the season, coupled with Wigan’s defeat at Wakefield means Saints are six points clear at the top of the table with just four rounds left.
Even if Wigan beat Toulouse this Friday, Saints know they can secure the League Leaders’ Shield at the DW Stadium against their arch rivals on Friday week.
The only other game Jack Welsby missed this season was the away trip to Castleford, where Woolf rested a host of stars and fielded seven debutants in a 30-10 defeat.
Welsby had been cited for an alleged late tackle in last week’s Super League win over Castleford, but the match review panel said there was no case to answer.
St Helens welcome Hull KR to the Totally Wicked Stadium this weekend.