Will Hopoate. Picture: SWPix
Injury-plagued Will Hopoate is hoping for a change of luck as he bids to help St Helens achieve a record-breaking four Grand Finals in succession.
The 30-year-old Tongan international centre, who moved to the Totally Wicked Stadium this season from Canterbury Bulldogs, returned to action in last weekend’s Betfred Super League encounter against Toulouse Olympique after suffering rib and hamstring problems.
He will desperately want to add to his meagre tally of six matches in 2022 when the defending champions entertain Hull KR on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
Saints have a tough set of fixtures on the horizon, including the Magic Weekend showdown with arch-rivals Wigan Warriors, a trip to the Catalans Dragons and a home fixture against Huddersfield Giants - three clubs breathing down their necks in a battle for the title.
But, as usual, it will be a question of taking one match at a time and building on the experience of being in a similar position previously and then going on to snatch the coveted crown.
Australia-born Hopoate said:’’ Thankfully, I was able to finish the game in France and get back on my feet, so to speak, and hopefully we can notch up a few more wins in the coming weeks which will certainly boost our confidence .”
Head coach Kristian Woolf makes two changes to his squad with the suspended Sione Mata’utia replaced by Sam Royle and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook dropping out after picking up a facial injury against Toulouse and awaiting the result of a scan. Dan Hill now steps into the breach.
Squad: 1. Jack Welsby, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Will Hopoate, 5. Regan Grace, 6. Jonny Lomax, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Matty Lees, 12. Joe Batchelor, 13. Morgan Knowles, 14. Joey Lussick,16. Curtis Sironen, 17. Agnatius Paasi, 19. Jake Wingfield, 20. James Bell, 22. Ben Davies, 23. Konrad Hurrell, 24. Dan Norman ,26. Sam Royal, 27. Jon Bennison, 29. Dan Hill.