St Helens sweat on fitness of star players ahead of Challenge Cup semi-final

Jonny Lomax is a doubt for the Challenge Cup semi-finals after suffering an injury in St Helens’ win over Salford Red Devils on Friday.

The star halfback came off in the first half of the Super League game with a bicep injury, ahead of this Saturday’s big clash with rivals Wigan Warriors at Elland Road.

Will Hopoate, who started at fullback for the first time this season against Salford, is also a doubt for the semi-final after struggling in the game.

Saints coach Kristian Woolf said that both players would need scans but he remained hopeful they could recover in time.

“We’ve got an eight-day turnaround which is really positive, it’s a long time to turn injuries around,” he said.

On Lomax, Woolf added: “There was a bit of precaution in there as well but Jonny doesn’t come off for nothing, if it all. We’ll have a look and hope for good news.”

The issues could potentially spell further disruptions to the St Helens spine, following Lewis Dodd’s season-ending injury.

Jack Welsby started alongside Lomax in the halves against Salford as Hopoate took his spot at fullback, but Lomax’s injury saw James Roby fill into the halves for the majority of the game as Saints edged an unconvincing victory to retain top spot in the league table.

Saints were also without three players due to suspension last week, with James Bell beginning a two-match ban that also rules him out of the Challenge Cup semi-final.

Konrad Hurrell and Curtis Sironen have completed bans – their second and third individual suspensions of the season respectively – so come back into contention.

But Woolf has warned that those bans could prove costly in the future and urged his team to sharpen up to avoid further punishment.

“You obviously want to have your best players available,” he said.

“Some of those (bans) are a little unlucky, but some of those maybe need to be more disciplined and smarter in their decisions. 

“I’ve said all along that I’ve got no problem with the stance the RFL has made with late hits, foul play and things like that, so I’m not going to sit here and moan about it.” 

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