St Helens half-back Matty Smith was described as being “in a bad way” after suffering a horrific eye injury during St Helens’ 24-22 defeat against Leeds on Thursday night.
Smith, who missed the start of the season with a broken leg, was forced out of the game at Headingley after just six minutes after catching a stray arm from his captain Jon Wilkin as they both attempted a tackle.
Doctors were unable to stitch the wound and Smith was taken to hospital from where the club are anxiously awaiting news – but coach Justin Holbrook admitted it did not look great.
“Unfortunately he’s in a bad way,” Holbrook admitted.. “It wasn’t just a cut, he sort of got his eyelid ripped open.
“Hopefully he’ll be alight but they couldn’t stitch it so he’s got to go to hospital and we’ll see what happens there.
“Hopefully his eye’s not damaged but it’s a lot worse than just a cut, that’s for sure. Everyone at our club is hoping he’ll be okay but I’m not sure.”
Wilkin was involved in another big moment of the match; his sin-binning which ultimately proved to be the catalyst for Leeds to battle back and win.
The Saints skipper was shown a yellow card for an alleged crusher tackle on Rhinos forward Mitch Garbutt – a decision Holbrook admitted had a huge impact on the game.
“I’m just as proud of the boys as I was last week when we got the win,” Holbrook said.
“It was really crucial to lose your half-back for pretty much the whole game. Obviously he’s our main organiser so it made it hard on us and, to nearly get away with that without your half would have been huge.
“I think the sin-binning was harsh and it was massive. It makes it hard, that’s for sure, when you are playing a man short for 10 minutes.”