St Helens injury blow could jeopardise hopes of lifting Super League title

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Alex Walmsley has been ruled out for at least four weeks with a hamstring injury.

St Helens are coming to terms with the loss of 32-year-old Alex Walmsley for at least a month, which could jeopardise their hopes of lifting the Betfred Super League title for a record-breaking fifth time on the bounce.

The England international limped off two minutes of Saints’ 38-0 win over Wakefield on Friday night with a hamstring problem.

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Like his Wigan rival, Jai Field, Walmsley will miss Good Friday’s derby blockbuster at the DW Stadium which is expected to attract a capacity crowd. The Warriors will also be without Willie Isa (one-match ban) and are keeping an eye on the fitness level of Cade Cust.

Paul Wellens, who will be facing the auld enemy for the first time in a head coaching capacity and being a local lad knows what is just around the corner, said: "What this fixture merits is the best against the best.

"It is a massive occasion wherever played but it would be even better if both Alex and Jai were on the field. However, there will still be other quality players out there and I’m excited about what they will bring to the game itself."

The squads for Good Friday’s match, which kicks-off at 3pm and will be screened live by Sky TV, will be released on Wednesday at noon.

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Gary Wheeler has returned to his hometown club in a coaching capacity. The 33-year-old, who was dogged by injury during his playing career, hung up his boots earlier in the year on medical advice, but now he has returned to where his life as a professional rugby league player began.

The utility back played 64 games during an injury-hit spell with Saints between 2008 and 2014, as well as playing for Toronto and Warrington Wolves, but he is now taking on a coaching role with the academy.

“I’m doing stuff in the community and helping out at night with the academy. Last year I had a meeting with chief executive Mike Rush  who has been great with me, even when I’ve not been at the club. He’s helped me through my career at different points and he said it would be good to get me involved."

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