Luke Douglas is the latest St Helens player to be ruled out by injury.
The 30-year-old former Gold Coast Titans prop forward suffered a compound fracture of one of his fingers during Friday’s 24-16 Super League defeat at Leigh and is set to undergo surgery.
Saints are unsure how long Scotland international Douglas will be on the sidelines but his injury couldn’t have come at a worse time - just a few weeks after scrum-half and fellow new signing Matty Smith broke his leg in a pre-season friendly against Widnes Vikings.
Ironically, Douglas, who is on a three-year deal at the Totally Wicked Stadium, holds the record for the most consecutive appearances in the NRL with 215 between 2006 and 2014.
Head coach Keiroin Cunningham said: “Luke had played for 15 million years Down Under and not missed a fixture or training session. Now after only two games in a Saints’ shirt he needs surgery.”
And reflecting on the latest addition to the number of players who had suffered injuries since he took over the helm in 2015, Cunningham said: “It seems the curse of the club has struck again.”
He added: “It’s unfortunate but we’ll have to shake it off and get him back as soon as we can.”
There are also worries about full-back Jonny Lomax who suffered a knee problem in the same game and while he played the full 80 minutes, the club will be assessing his conditions ahead of Friday’s second Super League home match of the season against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
But a piece of positive news is that another new signing, Zeb Taia, is expected to arrive in the country in the next day or two.
The 32-year-old New Zealand and Cook Islands international tweeted on Monday: “Visa approved. Leaving tomorrow for Manchester. See you soon, UK,”
Whether he figures in Cunningham plans for Friday remains to be seen but a great deal will depend on when he arrives and what shape he is in following such a long and tiring journey
Winger Tommy Makinson, who played against Zeb during the latter’s spell at the Catalans Dragons, said: “He’s a brute of a player and is set to make a big impact in a Saints’ shirt.”