Joe joins the casualty list

Joe Greenwood
Joe Greenwood

Saints have been rocked by an unprecedented run of early season injuries which, in the long term, could jeopardise their chances of retaining the Super League crown.

Joe Greenwood is the latest player to be hit by the club’s injury jinx - breaking his leg in the first half of the Good Friday derby encounter against Wigan Warriors - and faces a prolonged spell on the sidelines.

The second rower, who celebrated his 22nd birthday at the beginning of the month, joins a seemingly never-ending list of casualties which reads like a waiting room queue at the local hospital’s A and E department.

This includes Luke Walsh (broken leg), Jon Wilkin (hamstring), Travis Burns (fractured cheekbone), Atelea Vea (fractured shoulder), Mark Percival (medial iigament damage), Paul Wellens (on-going hip problem), and Jonny Lomax (potentially season-ending knee injury).

Skipper Wilkin, however, is hoping to be fit for Sunday’s match against the Huddersfield Giants at the John Smith’s Stadium, while Walsh, who hasn’t played since the end of July last year, cannot be too far off pulling on the famous Red-Vee shirt once more.

Coach Keiron Cunningham said at the weekend: “Hopefully, Luke will be back in the next couple of weeks. He is looking good in training but he has a time frame to reach and only then will the specialist pass him fit.”

Fortunately - if that’s the right word to use in the circumstances - most of Saints’ long-term injuries have resulted in clean breaks with no complications and fingers crossed it will lead to a speedier recovery than normal in most cases.

Neither did they suffer any further serious setbacks in the Hull game, which they will look on as a blessing in disguise, but at the same time the below-par performance of both sides questioned the wisdom of playing two tough games over the Easter weekend.

Cunningham said: “I think playing twice in such a short period of time is the worst concept in the world and, while I might sound like a bitter coach after losing both, I would have felt just the same had we picked up all four points on offer.”