Mason set for early St Helens debut

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The Independent Online

St Helens' new arrival, Keith Mason, is ready to make his debut for the club against Wigan on Friday.

The former Wakefield prop only arrived last weekend after 18 months in Australia with Melbourne Storm, but, with John Stankevitch out injured, he could be rushed straight into the side for the derby.

"We're going to have to bring a forward in and it's a strong possibility that Keith could play," said his new coach, Ian Millward. "If he comes through today's session alright he'll definitely be in the 17."

Mason has also revealed that he could have joined Wigan, who, along with Hull, showed interest when he became available last week.

Despite Stankevitch's injury, Saints have decided that Tim Jonkers can still leave on loan, with Huddersfield joining Leigh and Salford in showing interest. Millward says the club is still undecided about offering Paul Newlove a new contract for next season.

Saints' Paul Sculthorpe has tipped his younger brother, Wigan's Danny, to follow him into the Great Britain team. Sculthorpe junior says he will be fit to face his brother on Friday night, despite a shoulder injury in his last game.

Brett Dallas is definitely out with further hamstring trouble, however, and the Wigan coach, Stuart Raper, says that Craig Smith, Kevin Brown and Gareth Hock will return to the 17 after a sub-standard second half against Leeds.

The Wigan and Great Britain captain, Andy Farrell, has completed his comeback from a knee injury, the worst injury of his career by being named as Lancashire's captain for the Origin Match at Odsal on 2 July. Farrell has captained Lancashire since the inception of the fixture.

Yorkshire, meanwhile, will have their third captain in three years in Castleford's Danny Orr. He became the youngest captain in Super League when Graham Steadman, who is also Yorkshire's coach, appointed him last year when he was only 23. Steadman said he had considered the Bradford pair, Stuart Fielden and Jamie Peacock, before settling on Orr.

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