SAINTS coach Paul Wellens has given an update on three of his key players who have been rehabbing in the off-season - Lewis Dodd, Mark Percival and Will Hopoate.

Scrum half Dodd is back in full training as he makes his way back from an Achilles injury, Percival has begun running after being given positive news on his leg injury while the physios are using the off-season to get Hopoate ready for a return after repeated hamstring niggles.

Although the news is positive, coach Wellens explained the cautious approach that has been taken given the players’ importance to the team.

Cautious approach on Mark Percival

Wellens said: “We are taking a cautious approach with Mark Percival.

“He is obviously a very key player to us and we don’t want to rush him back into team training.

“He has got a few things with the physio he has to get through, but he has started doing some running and we keep checking symptoms to see if he comes through OK.

“We are positive in the outlook for Mark, but at the same time we don’t want to rush things.

“The important thing is we get him out playing and he can contribute for the course of the season.

“We are in a position where we don’t want to be rushing him back for one or two games.

“We will take the cautious approach, but at the same time we are very happy with where he is at.”

Delight at Lewis Dodd's progress

He is delighted with Dodd’s recovery from the Achilles injury that has sidelined him since April.

“Lewis is back in full training and beginning to look more and more comfortable as the weeks go by.

“I am sure that progress will continue – there are no issues with Lewis.

St Helens Star:

“Our medical staff are really good in putting programmes together to build these players up and put them back in a position where they can perform at a high level again,” Wellens said.

Saints' patient approach on Tonga test player Will Hopoate  

And that team has been working hard on Hopoate, who endured a frustrating first season in the red vee.

He endured an in-out season with a hamstring – playing just 12 times for Saints - and he was re-injured playing for Tonga in the World Cup quarter finals.

Wellens added: “There is a bit of patience with Will because that is what he didn’t have last year.

“It was always about trying to get him back after say six weeks for this game or that.

“That was nobody’s fault – it was just what the circumstances dictated.

“What the end of season injury in the World Cup has given us is a longer period of time to exhaust every avenue with Will and go through a really thorough process with Nathan Mill.

“Our head physio has worked tirelessly on putting him in the best position, so when he is does come back into full training and in games then he is in a much more robust position to cope with the demands of the game.

St Helens Star:

“As people saw, every time he took the field last year he was a really influential player.

“He has got a lot of qualities in his game and is a very cool head and experienced player and one we are excited to have back in the team on a regular basis.”