St Helens fans have been told they can expect to see more of Paul Sculthorpe in the engage Super League showdown with Leeds but in a limited role.
St Helens fans have been told they can expect to see more of Paul Sculthorpe in the engage Super League showdown with Leeds - but warned it will be another six weeks before the Great Britain captain is back to his best. The Saints captain made his eagerly-awaited comeback from major knee surgery in his side's 44-8 win over Castleford last Friday. Sculthorpe, who had not played since August, lasted an hour before being brought off - and coach Daniel Anderson does not expect him to play the full 80 minutes against the Rhinos this Friday. But Anderson was delighted with the loose forward's comeback against the Tigers and expects to see a gradual improvement over the next month. "He surprised me and he's come up on video even better than in the game," said Anderson. "The quality of what he did was exceptional; he showed some really classy touches." Anderson added: "He could have played the whole game, but there was no need. He was going to play half-a-game but he was going so well, and I couldn't get him to come off at half-time. "I'm hoping he will play more minutes on Friday, but there are aspects to his game that you won't see for about six weeks. "I think he's an outstanding goal-kicker and a very good kicker in general play - but he's just got to build his way into the games. He definitely won't be goal-kicking for a month; he doesn't need to worry about that at this stage. "I don't think he'll play the whole game on Friday - I don't know if his fitness is up for it yet - but he'll certainly play the majority of it. "We're fortunate that we've got some front rowers with big engines, so we don't need as many subs as last year and we can afford to rotate our back row a bit." St Helens could be virtually at full strength for the visit of Leeds, with prop Nick Fozzard the only player definitely ruled out after taking a knock against Castleford. Front rower Paul Anderson and back rower Jon Wilkin, missing against Castleford, were both named in a 20-man squad after recovering from leg injuries - while stand-off Leon Pryce has recovered from a thigh strain sustained against the Tigers.
Leeds Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott said crucial mistakes had cost his side following their defeat to St Helens. Speaking after the game he said: "We were in command but that was never the game so early. I was never feeling comfortable at 16-0. I'm not sat scratching my head wondering how we lost. We missed too many soft tackles at crucial times and it gave them a bit of momentum. Take away a couple of blunders near our try-line and it's more of a tighter scoreline."
St Helens boss Nathan Brown praised his side's performance after they ended their losing run in Super League with 30-22 victory over the Rhinos. He said: "The first 20 minutes were disappointing and I wasn't sure where we were heading but in the last 60 we did really well. To come from 16-0 down against a good side like Leeds, you've got to credit to the guys."
Leeds Rhinos let a first half lead slip away at home to St Helens. The Rhinos started well when Watkins scored a try after six minutes and Moon and Burrow got one each soon after to make it 16-0 but Saints hit back running in six tries to end their losing run and put them back in the top eight
Young Rhinos star Liam Sutcliffe said there was disappointment that the Rhinos lost out to Saints in his first senior game, but said they would be focussed on putting things right against Wigan. Speaking after the game he said: "I would have liked to have started my first league game with a win but it wasn't to be this time. I was buzzing that they had got a lead and I was dying to get on. I was nervous and excited at the same time just to get out on the pitch and get stuck in. It will be a tough game against Wigan and we will have to come in to training this week with our heads focused and put right what we did wrong tonight and be ready for next week."