TONGAN international Will Hopoate’s frustrating year with injuries continues with coach Kristian Woolf explaining that the utility back was ruled out of last night’s game with Leeds with another niggle.

Hopoate has had a stop-start first year in the red vee with a fractured rib cartilage on debut followed by a string of re-occurring leg or hamstring issues.

There were high hopes that Saints could get a bit of continuity in their new-look 1, 6 and 7 when Hopoate impressed against Hull KR, but the warning signs were there when he finished the game with his leg heavily strapped.

Woolf said: “Will has unfortunately copped another little niggle.

“It is really unfortunate for him and it is really frustrating because he is a terrific player.

“If you look at Will Hopate’s first half of the game against Hull KR he was one of our best players and it showed his class and how much he is going to add to us.

“We just need to figure out why he keeps getting these little niggles because it is really frustrating for him and he needs to be supported there.

“He has come over wanting to make an impact and that is what he’ll do once he gets a run of games.

“We’ll figure that out.”

In his place Saints slotted in Jon Bennison for his first game back since suffering a fractured cheekbone at Castleford in April.

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Woolf said: “I thought Jon Bennison was great tonight and in the games he has played on the wing he has already shown that he is right up to the standard to play Super League.

“His natural position is full back and I thought he did a great job. He was threatening and patient and handled every bit of kicking they put in. He did a really good job overall.”

Woolf pointed out that Morgan Knowles played on despite picking up a hand injury.

“He copped a bit of a bump on his hand that he is going to have to look after,” he said.

“But to get through that and play the way he does was a credit. He is so physical there in the middle and uncompromising and we get that from him every week.

“We came through pretty clean and we haven’t done that too many times.”