St Helens v Leeds Rhinos: Richard Agar hoping for update after Headingley signing James Bentley misses out on chance to face his future side
Leeds Rhinos will be denied a close-up look at new signing James Bentley tonight.
The Ireland international will join Rhinos in pre-season to begin a two-year contract, but is back on hosts St Helens’ casualty list just weeks after recovering from a broken leg.
The Leeds-born second-rower suffered a back injury during Saints’ golden-point defeat by Catalans Dragons last week and could have played his final game for the club, according to coach Kristian Woolf.
Rhinos boss Richard Agar is hoping to speak to Bentley and Woolf at this evening’s game.
Agar said he only heard about the injury on Wednesday and confirmed: “With us playing Saints, I felt ethically I can wait until I am over there.
“I’ll see James and Woolfy over there and I am sure they’ll give me an update on where it’s at.”
Woolf has confirmed it could be a season-ending injury for Bentley.
“He is seeing specialists and he’s going to see more specialists,” the Saints boss said.
“It’s not a clear-cut one as to how long he’s out for, but there’s certainly that possibility.”
Catalans’ Sam Kasiano was sin-binned for the tackle which caused Bentley’s injury, but avoided further punishment from the RFL’s match review panel.
Woolf stressed he does not believe the incident was intentional, but feels Bentley, 23, was “let down”.
Woolf said: “As a club - and I include James in that - we are really disappointed with the mrp ruling.
“It was seen as a significant enough tackle to deem a sin-bin on the day, but the referee and also the video referee.
“There’s no doubt whatsoever James was put into a really, really vulnerable position and he has also suffered a significant injury as a result of the position he was put in.
“We have rules in place to protect the players and the mrp are put in place to make sure those rules are upheld.
“My personal feeling is we’ve let James Bentley down in this instance, when that has not occurred.”
Agnatius Paasi will miss tonight’s game after being suspended for two matches over an incident in the loss to Catalans.
Joel Thompson, Aaron Smith and Ben Davies are in contention for a call-up, having not been selected last week and Woolf has drafted Josh Eaves and Dan Norman into a 20-man squad.
Woolf said: “We know the league leaders’ is out of reach now, but we want to make sure we finish second and we finish really strongly in this competition as well. Over the last four weeks, outside ourselves, I think we have played the three best teams in the competition and I think Leeds are the next best. Leeds are going to be really desperate and bring a high-quality level of footy.”
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