‘Massive for us’ - Joe Batchelor returns to St Helens 21-man squad for Warrington Wolves clash
“He adds so much to us and the team.”
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Injury-hit St Helens have been given a shot of adrenaline by the news that 28-year-old Joe Batchelor, who has been side lined since their whistle-stop tour of Australia in February, is back in contention for a spot in the Super League champions’ blockbuster against leaders Warrington Wolves at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Thursday night.
The England international second rower was forced to undergo knee surgery following the club’s return from the World Club Challenge and has been out of action ever since, with St Helens currently holding a far from impressive record of four wins from eight so far this season.
"Joe joined his team-mates on the training ground on Monday and did really well,” Wellens said. “Having Batch back in contention is massive for us. As a player, we rate him very highly. He adds so much to us and the team.
“As you can imagine with Joe, he has worked so hard throughout his rehabilitation and he’s obviously desperate to get back out on the field."
Batchelor replaces Jake Wingfield in the only change to the squad which was named for the match at Hull KR. The young forward, unfortunately, misses out due to head injury protocols following a knock picked up in last Friday’s fixture.
Some young first teamers have kept their place in the 21-man group and could feature on Thursday night. Baxter, Hill, and Bruines have all featured for Swinton Lions as part of club’s dual-registration partnership in 2023.
Both Baxter and Buckley have also played for North Wales Crusaders on loan this season, while further match opportunities have also come up for Hill, Buckley, and Bruines with the Saints Reserves - the trio impressing in dominant wins over Newcastle and Wakefield.
Saints’ squad: Welsby, Makinson, Hopoate, Percival, Bennison, Lomax, Dodd, Roby, Lees, Batchelor, Lussick, McCarthy- Scarsbrook, Bell, Royle, Hurrell, Baxter, Ritson, Hill, Delaney, Buckley, Bruines.