St Helens forward Joe Batchelor has been ruled out of Saturday’s World Club Challenge against Penrith with an ankle injury that is expected to require surgery.
Batchelor limped off during last weekend’s warm-up win over St George Illawarra Dragons and a subsequent scan has confirmed Saints’ worst fears.
Saints head coach Paul Wellens said: “Joe came off with an ankle injury, we sent him for a scan and it’s looking very likely that Joe will require surgery on his return to the UK.
“It’s a huge blow for Joe personally. People have seen the influence he has had on the team, and the progress he has made as a player has been significant.”
Further scans are set to determine the length of Batchelor’s absence, but he will definitely miss the start of their Super League season, which Saints kick off on February 26 at Castleford.