St Helens head coach Paul Wellens has confirmed another hamstring injury blow to outside-back Will Hopoate, as well as providing an update on his future.
The Tonga international has suffered a reoccurrence of the same injury and could be sidelined for the next six weeks, with just seven fixtures left in the regular Super League campaign.
Hopoate, 31, has been limited to just 13 appearances so far in 2023 after an injury-hit campaign, scoring three tries, and picked up the blow ahead of last week’s clash with Salford Red Devils.
The former NRL man featured just 12 times in his debut season with the club last year due to a recurring hamstring injury.
“Will is going to be probably four-to-six-weeks,” Wellens confirmed.
“It’s obviously a frustrating one for him. What many people won’t know is that Will has been playing with a knee that needed a clean out on it.
“What this has done has afforded us the opportunity to get that done and hopefully we can heal two things in the same timeframe with it being his knee and hamstring.
“I know Will is very keen to get back fit and finish the season strong with us.
“We’ll do everything we can to put him in a position to do.
Will Hopoate future update provided by Saints boss
Hopoate has been influential when on the field for Saints, featuring in the 2022 Grand Final victory over Leeds Rhinos and the World Club Challenge triumph over Penrith Panthers in Australia.
Wellens admits contract negotiations for next year are open with Hopoate, with an option for a third year on his contract.
“We’ve always had open, honest and transparent conversations with Will around our approach to next year,” Wellens told Love Rugby League.
“We’re all on the same page there, there’s nothing too much to worry about and Will certainly feels no pressure around picking up this injury and needing to be doing things.
“Conversations have been had and we’re all comfortable with where we’re at.
“Any overseas player that comes to this club, I would use Will as a role model in how to go about your business.
“He is as dedicated as a professional as you’ll find. He’s a humble, really grounded individual despite what he’s achieved in the game and he’s always there to help others.
“He’s almost the full package. It’s frustrating for me as a coach and us as a team that we haven’t had Will out on the field as much as we’d like in the last 18 to 24 months, but what I can say is it’s not through Will’s lack of effort or want.”