Saints suffer double blow

  • Last Updated: April 15 2014, 14:19 BST

St Helens could be without Willie Manu for up to two months due to a thumb injury, while fellow forward Anthony Laffranchi is also set for a spell on the sidelines.

Willie Manu: Could be out for as long as two months
Willie Manu: Could be out for as long as two months

Manu suffered a dislocated and broken thumb in the win over Castleford last Friday and is expected to be out for between six and eight weeks, meaning coach Nathan Brown will be without him for both the Tetley's Challenge Cup fifth round tie against Leeds and the Magic Weekend clash with Warrington.

With Australian Laffranchi also ruled out for a month with an arm problem, Brown admits he has been left to count the cost of their thrilling comeback against the Tigers.

However the Saints boss is now looking ahead to the derby fixture against Wigan, who did the league and cup double last year, on Good Friday in front of a full house at Langtree Park.

"Friday's game (against Castleford) wasn't kind to us but we'll be fine," Brown told the club's official website. 

"We're looking forward to the match and it will be a great contest. Wigan are a terrific team and what they achieved last year was big considering how tough a double is to do in the modern game."

Table-topping Saints were 18 points adrift at half time at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle in front of the Sky Sports cameras, only to fight back impressively to maintain their perfect record in 2014 with a 30-28 victory.

They scored three tries in a 13-minute spell to turn the game around and make it eight wins from eight in Super League. It was a similar story against Huddersfield in the cup the week before, as St Helens have become masters of the late comeback.

"The manner in which we fought back against Castleford was good, but it was a game of two halves," Brown said.

"They were better than us in the first half and we were much better in the second. Thankfully, we are a team playing with a reasonable amount of confidence.

"We've had a couple of tight situations recently where we have needed to kick a field goal or score a try and the guys seem to be able to execute things really well."