Tommy Makinson ready to return for Challenge Cup semi-final

Turbo-charged winger Tommy Makinson will be back in the Saints' line-up for Saturday's Betfred Challenge Cup semi-final tie against Hull FC at Leigh Sports Village, head coach Kristian Woolf revealed last night (Tuesday).

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 7:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 7:56 am
Tommy Makinson shows the Betfred Super League trophy to the fans prior to the match against Salford Red Devils at the Totally Wicked Stadium which he was forced to miss through injury

The England international flier had been sidelined by a minor foot injury but Woolf said he was now 100 per cent to play.

But he was a little bit more cautious when assessing the fitness of centre Mark Percival and Agnatius Paasi.

Woolf said the signs were positive but at this stage they faced further checks before being declared match fit or not.

Regan Grace, who missed last week's Super League encounter against Hull, is expected to be fit following a bout of concussion ahead of a match which the head coach said would be a close run affair.

The Aussie added: ''It will a tough and physical encounter in which we need to take every opportunity that comes our way.

''We've a group of players who love a big challenge and everyone is looking forward to it.

"Everybody knows what is on the line and there will be no lack of motivation.''

Teenager Welsby, who scored Saints’ last-second try to win the Grand Final in November, has played in all 10 league and cup matches so far and Woolf has confirmed he will maintain his ever-present record.

“He’s too good a player not to have in our 17 every week,” he said. “Wherever we put Jack he finds a way to make it work and play really well. We’ll figure something out.”

Woolf says he is reading little into his side’s 34-16 victory over the Black and Whites, pointing to their ability to reverse a league defeat by Wigan by knocking their opponents out of the cup in the last round.

“We start again,” he said. “It’s a new game and it’s a new competition. Last week is not going to mean much when we kick off on Saturday.

“We’re expecting a really tough game, there’s going to be a lot more on the line for both teams.

“I expect Hull will want to throw themselves into this competition but also to make amends for last week. I read a few comments after the game and there is going to be different intent from Hull, no doubt about that.

“They lost to Wigan in a Super League game and beat them in the Challenge Cup, so they will be talking about doing the same thing again.”

St Helens, who have not won the cup since 2008, have lost just once so far this season but Woolf says there is still more to come from them.

“The really good thing about our performance at the weekend was that, while we showed a lot of improvement from the week before, there’s still a lot of improvement left in us,” he said.

“There is no doubt whatsoever. We left a couple of tries out on the field and we allowed a couple of tries I thought we could have been a lot better on.”

The 21-strong squads will be released at noon on Thursday.