Jake Wingfield will have a big part to play in St Helens’ end to the season, according to Kristian Woolf.
The 21-year-old loose forward made his debut for the club in 2020 but has made his real breakthrough this year.
A man-of-the-match display in Saints’ victory over Castleford Tigers – Wingfield’s eighth consecutive appearance – only underlined his potential, with his head coach pleased by the range of qualities he offers.
“In terms of having a real impact with the ball, that was probably the best impact he’s had,” said Woolf of his Castleford display.
“He’s had an impact in different ways. A few weeks ago against Leeds he used his skill really well and was on the end of some attacking moves. In other games he’s led through his defence.
“Jake is a really talented young player, he’s extremely skilful, and he’ll continue to get better.
“What he needs is a good run of games to keep getting better. That’s what we’re seeing now, with continuity he is improving and becoming more confident.
“At the back end of the year I think he’s going to have a little more influence on the team going forward as well.”
Another youngster, Daniel Hill, may play no further part in the season because of a shoulder injury suffered against Castleford, but he also came in for strong praise.
“He copped an injury that’s going to keep him out for four-to-six weeks, and he copped that in the first seven minutes of the game,” said Woolf.
“Being brave and committed enough to get through for another 60 minutes is a great sign of him as a player and his commitment to the team, and how he’s going to progress as a player as well.”
But miserable news was confirmed last week for Matty Foster, who will require anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery again.
The 21-year-old damaged his knee last month on his return from eleven months out with the same injury.
“It’s devastating news for Matty first and foremost, but everyone involved with Matty – his team-mates and the staff are all gutted for him,” said Woolf.
“Sometimes our sport can be a cruel game and give you bad luck, and that’s what has happened in this instance.”
Foster is out of contract at the end of this season but Woolf said the player will remain at the club through his recovery.
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