St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf has heaped praise on Jonny Lomax for changing his role to suit the team.
With scrum-half Lewis Dodd out for the season through injury, the experienced England star has taken on the position and adapted his own game.
Lomax is now the organiser with Jack Welsby shining at stand-off, and is finding new ways to keep Saints top of Super League despite also continuing to manage a ruptured bicep.
Woolf said the current structure was always planned in case of injuries.
“At the start of the year, when we looked at our squad, we had conversations. ‘If we lose this person, this is what we’ll do.’
“You don’t plan on losing players, especially for the season, but you’ve got to plan for the fact you might have guys out and it’s part of our game.
“Jonny has been really selfless, being happy to do away with some of the things he’s always been able to do and some of the things he does best, particularly around playing off a half and being able to use his running game.
“Now he’s being a bit more of a halfback and using his skillset to set up some of our players to do the things he’s used to doing.
“He’s one of the best players I’ve worked with and he’s one of the most selfless and hard-working players.
“His ability to put the team first, because he wants to win and he knows that’s what will give us the best chance of winning, is extremely selfless.”
Lomax has been carrying the bicep problem since the end of April and initially had to play as a fullback in defence to protect himself, but Woolf says the injury is “getting better and more manageable with each week”.
He added: ”He’s getting more confidence in it and you can see that by the way he’s playing.
“He’s no longer a fullback; we had to do that out of necessity but he’s able to stand in the frontline and handle that sort of load (now).
“Teams have targeted (him) and he’s held up well.”
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