Injury blow for Jon Wilkin
St Helens co-captain Jon Wilkin will miss the rest of the Super League season with a dislocated shoulder.
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Wilkin suffered the injury last month against Salford and then aggravated it on his return to first-team duties.
His loss is the second serious injury blow to Saints' Grand Final hopes in the last 10 days, coming after playmaker Luke Walsh suffered a broken leg.
"I’m devastated, to be honest, this is never how you want your season to end."
Wilkin will now go under the knife and hopes to be back to full fitness for the start of the 2015 season.
“I’m done for the year,” he told the St Helens Reporter. “I’m devastated, to be honest, this is never how you want your season to end.
"After the Challenge Cup break it felt strong enough to play again but when I played it was just clear it had gone.
“I’m devastated because I’m desperate to be involved in this part of the season, especially as we have a great chance in the play-offs.”
But Wilkin is upbeat the rest of the St Helens squad has the quality to maintain its bid for domestic glory, and backed other players to relish new leadership roles.
"Certainly we’ve lost myself and Luke, as well as Lance Hohaia, and we’re senior players but also the vocal members of the team," he added.
“It is now for other members of the team to step up and take on more responsibility. Myself and Luke in the team, we talk and we organise, someone else is going to have to do that now.”
“We are in a great position, perhaps two victories away from securing top spot. Does losing senior players make winning the Grand Final more difficult? Yes. Does it make it impossible? No.
“This side is certainly capable of going a long way in the play-offs but it is up to the players to pull together and make it happen.”