SAINTS boss Kristian Woolf does not expect any of his team to go out and ‘be James Bentley’ but he does want other players to step up and give a bit more to fill an inevitable void.

Second row Bentley, who broke his leg and damaged his ankle in Friday’s win over Leigh, will undergo surgery and be out for a lengthy period.

And although Saints will undoubtedly miss the dogged 80-minute efforts, terrier-like tackling and Bentley’s ‘in your face’ ability to get under the skin of the opposition Woolf expects the rest of the squad to step it up in their own ways.

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Woolf said: “Nobody has to go out and be James Bentley and bring exactly what James brings to the team.

“We do know how highly regarded he is on the field and how he carries himself off it.

“There is no doubt that we will miss him.

“What we do need is other players to step up and give a bit more. That is not trying to be James Bentley, it means them being at their best.”

Woolf Q&A on Aganatius Paasi, Morgan Knowles and the Challenge Cup>

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With Morgan Knowles included in the 21 for the first time this year, after undergoing thumb surgery, Sione Mata’utia (above) will slot into his more natural second row berth vacated by Bentley.

“Sione Mata’utia is going to get the opportunity to play on the edge, and that is a role he prefers.

“If you look at the ability he has got in terms of his leg speed, the punch in his carries and the skillset he has the edge suits him – as does the middle.

“What we want Sione to do is come out and be is the best version of himself.

“If he does that, then we will find that he is going to offer us something and we will be talking really positively about what he is doing for the team.”

Bentley, who is off contract at the end of the season and a player Saints would want to tie down given the impact he has made, has cemented his place in the team since last year.

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The 23-year-old former Championship young player of the year with Bradford signed for Saints in 2018, spending time on dual registration with Sheffield and then Leigh before finally getting his feet under the table in Super League.

His versatility earned him call ups to play centre and hooker at the start of last term, and after lockdown he grabbed the starting second row spot to dislodge the popular Dom Peyroux from the starting 13.

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Woolf added: “James has been a terrific player for us. He started last year chopping and changing positions and played a little bit of hooker, centre and back row.

“After he had an ankle injury early on last year against Toronto, after playing in the World Club Challenge, he did a great job on himself in lockdown in terms of how fit he came back to play.

“He played outstanding for the rest of the year and cemented himself in the team.

“He is a bloke who is really well respected by our group, staff and players and the way he plays in our system, our system shows the strength in his game.

“He is going to be a loss – but that is footy sometimes unfortunately – but what we need to do is back someone in the squad and we crack on.”