Wilkin defends club over Hohaia row

Jon Wilkin
Jon Wilkin
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St Helens captain Jon Wilkin has backed his side’s medical department following Lance Hohaia’s damaging claims at the weekend.

New Zealander Hohaia suggested that the club refused to support him following Wigan Warriors prop Ben Flower’s punches at the 2014 Super League Grand Final.

The 32-year-old stated that the club refused him time off to recover before eventually retiring in April 2015.

Saints moved quickly to refute the claims, and Wilkin believes that the club will have offered Hohaia the best medical advice.

Wilkin said: “I’ve got a lot of time for Lance, he’s a lovely guy. I don’t know the ins and outs of what’s happened, but I know the club I play for are a club that look after the guys.

“Certainly medically we’re probably one of the best sides in the competition. We’ve got two of the best physios and probably one of the best doctors in professional sport, so I trust their professional opinions on things.

“I think as an athlete we’ve all got a responsibility to make calls on our own bodies and without doubt contact sport throws that into question. It becomes a grey area.

“I think Lance and the club will come to an agreement.”

Wilkin was speaking just days after a 30-18 defeat by Leeds Rhinos, and the former Hull Kingston Rovers man accepts that his side have not yet hit their stride this season.

He said: “We’ve had a real mixed bag. We started with a great performance at the beginning of the season, and we’ve had a few up and down performances.

“It’s been disappointing that we’ve been inconsistent – the word we’ve been using a lot is inconsistency, trying to get that is the challenge, something that’s a constant battle.

“The best sides, or the best performers of any discipline or any sport are usually consistent or thereabouts. Our aim is to be one of those sides and we’re not quite there at the moment.”

The 32-year-old, who joined the club in 2002, has two years remaining on his current contract at Langtree Park.

And Wilkin insists that he won’t be satisfied unless he can add another title to his collection before he retires.

Wilkin added: “We’re St Helens – we’ve got a history of success and winning. Our trophy cabinet’s full of trophies, I’d be disappointed not to add to that in the next couple of years.

“They’re the last few years of my career and it’s certainly an ambition of mine to lift the trophy as captain of the club.”

Meanwhile, Saints have confirmed that Atelea Vea will be absent for the next couple of weeks with a ‘soft tissue’ injury, including Good Friday’s derby clash with Wigan.