SAINTS' first Super League game of the 2024 season is just days away.

Coach Paul Wellens was asked about what to expect from Friday's opponents London Broncos, what a good night's work will look like and he gave a roll call on fitness.

MC: Will you all be glad to get started after all the pre-season work?

PW: We have done a fair bit of training this past few months, a lot of on field sessions and a lot of gym sessions and it has got to the point in the last few weeks of pre-season the team are just itching to get started.

I am really excited that the season is now upon us and we can get back to doing what we love.

St Helens Star:

MC: In many ways you are on a bit of a hiding to nothing playing a team that you are expected to beat, what are the pitfalls to avoid on Friday?

PW: We have just got to put our best foot forward. One thing we have done in recent seasons is really start the season well in terms of Round One and how we have approached it.

The journey London have been on as a club they have had a fantastic 12-18 months and Mike Eccles has certainly galvanised them as a group and they are pulling in the right direction.

They certainly upset a few teams last year and it is clear for all to see from the games at the back end of last year and in pre-season what we are coming up against.

We look forward to that challenge this week.

MC: Sometimes the atmosphere has the potential to be a little flat when there are few away fans to bounce off – do you have to make sure you generate the excitement on the field?

PW: There is an element of that but I think there will be genuine excitement around everyone for Round One with all fans starved of that competitive rugby for a while.

With regards to London, we will certainly have to respect them and look at the way they play and the individuals in the team who can cause us trouble.

But also the main focus for us has to be ourselves and how we approach it mentally, and put some of the stuff we have worked on in pre-season into practice and once again it is about getting results off the back of it.

What we need first and foremost from everyone is a committed performance.

St Helens Star: Joe Batchelor

MC: Team-wise who is not available for Friday?

PW: Joe Batchelor picked up a collar bone issue in the game against Salford and he is likely to be missing for this week and for a week or two after that.

That is disappointing for us and Joe because he is a valuable player for us.

We are hopeful he will make a quick recovery but we will be patient with him.

Moses Mbye has a bit of a knee issue and we have sent him for some injections that will hopefully settle him down, but having had those he is unavailable to play this week.

And as I mentioned a few weeks ago, we were always hopeful that Morgan Knowles would be fit for Round One but we were never going to push him if he was not quite ready.

He is back training after his groin niggle and thumb surgery but he has not quite got enough training into his legs.

Round One has come too soon, so by hopefully Huddersfield next week he will be fit and firing.

MC: What about Matty Lees?

PW: Matty is back in full training and good to go for this one.

MC: That is a shame about Moses missing given how sharp he has been looking in training?

PW: It is a shame, it is Moses’ first pre-season with us.

He has been really influential in pre-season and you can see that he’s a very smart player and he has not just trained at 9 with us but also in the halves as well and looked really comfortable.

He has settled around the group and has a wealth of experience and articulates his message to the group really well.

He is going to be an important player for us moving forward.

It is unfortunate that he can’t play in round one, but what that does is give an opportunity to someone who perhaps would not have got one.

MC: Will that opportunity mean dipping into the younger members of the squad or is it too soon to say?

PW: We have got a few in and around the squad and that is off the back of some of the great work they have done in pre-season.

I have still yet to finalise my team but Jake Burns will be in the 21. He has been brilliant in pre-season in his first year as a full time player he has really excelled.

So he could come into the reckoning and we have a number of players, like Ben Davies, whose utility value is important to us as well and players like Jake Wingfield also give us options.

There are a few things for me to figure out yet but I am pretty happy with where we are at.

MC: How is Mark Percival after missing last week?

PW: He is one that is coming in for treatment tomorrow to see how he has pulled up. But hopefully we get the green light off the medical team and he is good to play.

If that is not the case we will shuffle things around with either Waqa Blake playing centre with Jon Bennison on the wing or Ben Davies can play centre with Waqa on the wing, but we have got a few options.

MC: You mentioned about easing Waqa Blake in a few weeks ago – if you select him on Friday will he play the full game?

PW: Yes, if he plays I expect him to play the full game.

I am still yet to finalise my 17 to play but we are going to be patient with a couple of blokes there.

We trained this afternoon so we will see how a couple of them pull up after that.

MC: When the final hooter goes on Friday what does a good evening’s work look like?

PW: A committed and a tough performance and I really want us to really go out there and set a standard around how we are going to approach the rest of the season.

It’s a great opportunity for us to do that but to do it well and effectively we have to pay London the utmost respect.