St Helens’ injury woes have worsened after the announcement that Jon Wilkin will miss the rest of the 2014 season with a recurrence of a shoulder injury.
The versatile back-rower dislocated his shoulder against Salford last month and was on the path to recovery before damaging it again on his return to first-team action. He is now set to undergo surgery on Friday and is now aiming at recovering in time for the start of 2015.
“I’m done for the year,” the 30-year-old told the St Helens Reporter.
“I’m devastated, to be honest, this is never how you want your season to end.
“After the Challenge Cup break it [the shoulder] felt strong enough to play again but when I played it was just clear it had gone.
“I’m devastated because I’m desperate to be involved in this part of the season, especially as we have a great chance in the play-offs.”
Saints looked to be among the favourites for Grand Final glory as recently as a fortnight ago, but the loss of Luke Walsh, Jonny Lomax and now Wilkin – as well as Lance Hohaia, who is hoping to return in time for the play-offs – has seen their hopes fade somewhat.
Wilkin is still confident, though.
“The team is in a great position,” he said.
“Certainly we’ve lost myself and Luke, as well as Lance Hohaia, and we’re senior players but also the vocal members of the team.
“It is now for other members of the team to step up and take on more responsibility.
“Myself and Luke in the team, we talk and we organise, someone else is going to have to do that now.
“We are in a great position, perhaps two victories away from securing top spot. Does losing seniors players make winning the Grand Final more difficult? Yes. Does it make it impossible? No.
“This side is certainly capable of going a long way in the play-offs but it is up to the players to pull together and make it happen.”