High price to pay for first win of season

Saints players celebrate a try against Widnes on Sunday February 10
Saints players celebrate a try against Widnes on Sunday February 10

SAINTS have paid a heavy price after claiming their first Super League victory of the season against Widnes.

Coach Nathan Brown today revealed prop Josh Perry and half back Lance Hohaia will both be out for a month after picking up injuries at the Stobart Stadium while several other key players suffered from bumps and bruises.

It was initially feared Perry would be out for up to 12 weeks.

He played only five minutes of Sunday’s game, limping out of the action with a serious-looking knee injury after taking a shuddering tackle, and then late on his fellow Antipodean was forced to retire with a shoulder problem.

“It’s unfortunate but it gives someone else in the squad a chance,” said Brown.

“You worry about the long-term injuries because they are the ones that can affect your season.”

New signing Alex Walmsley is likely to be handed his debut against Hull FC in place of the injured prop forward.

“Lance has damaged his shoulder joint and Josh looked as though he would be sidelined for a number of weeks,” Brown added.

One piece of positive news is that hooker James Roby, who missed the weekend game with a minor foot problem, is almost certain to return.

“We could have played him at a push at the weeknd but weren’t prepared to take a risk,” said Brown.

There is also a possibility that international winger Ade Gardner - now on dual registration forms with Kingstone Press Championship club Whitehaven - will make the final 17-man squad.

Gardner was named in Saints initial 19-man squad to face the Vikings before being allowed to turn out for the Cumbrians at Keighley where he played a major role in a 16-12 victory.

Gardner’s team-mate at Langtree Park, Anthony Walker, was also able to make his Whitehaven debut from the bench after signing dual registration forms and impressed during his time on the park.

Saints are keen for the former England wing ace to use his time back in his native Cumbria to regain full match fitness.

General manager Mike Rush said: “We are indebted to Dave Woods and his team for allowing us the opportunity to give our players valuable game time at a high level.

“We have real competition for places at Saints and agreements such as this and a similar on at Rochdale will enable our players to build up vital match fitness.”