The St Helens winger, Joey Hayes, is out of the running for Wembley after a recurrence of a hamstring injury. The 20-year-old, the scorer of 18 tries in the last winter season, lasted just three minutes of the Alliance match against Halifax on Thursday night and is out of next Saturday's Silk Cut Challenge Cup final.
The better news for Saints is that their second-row forward, Simon Booth, came through safely after a lay-off with a knee injury and goes straight back into the first team squad at Halifax tomorrow.
With their scrum-half, Craig Dean, suffering from a dead-leg, Halifax bring back Wayne Parker in an otherwise unchanged side. The club, without a win this season, has allowed their veteran prop, John Fieldhouse, to move to the new South Wales side on a free transfer.
Tonight's televised match brings together two teams which, unlike Halifax, have started the Super League season rather more strongly than expected. Oldham, with both first-choice wingers injured, play Scott Ranson and Adrian Belle on the flanks at Castleford, who are still without Lee Crooks.
Leeds, without a point this season, throw their Academy hooker, Terry Newton, into the first team against Sheffield Eagles tomorrow. Newton, the teenaged subject of a bitter tug-of-war between Leeds and Warrington last year, comes in for the injured Mick Shaw.
The New Zealander, Nathan Picchi, is also likely to make his debut, while his fellow-countryman, Dean Clark, has confirmed that he is the overseas half-back being sought by the club.
The London Broncos coach, Tony Currie, has granted a partial reprieve to the two players disciplined for arriving late for training last week. Leo Dynevor and Russell Bawden are included among the substitutes against Workington Town.
Hull's Leigh Deakin has been given the heaviest suspension of the season so far, with a ban for eight matches after his sending-off for punching in the Easter Monday match against Keighley.
Australia have told the that they want to host an Ashes series this year, despite Britain being under the banner of Super League.