Rugby League: St Helens' query over Connolly


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St Helens expect to have Gary Connolly back for their Premiership semi-final Against Leeds tomorrow but still do not know whether the Great Britain centre will be one of their players next season.

Connolly believes he is fit again after an ankle injury, but his future is more difficult to diagnose. His Saints' contract expires early next season and talks between the two parties have so far failed to produce an agreement.

'I'll stay with Saints if they make me the right offer,' Connolly said. The question is whether they are financially capable of paying one of the most valuable young players in the game what he thinks he is worth and there are signs that they are becoming exasperated with trying.

Wigan's three specialist centres - Dean Bell, Andrew Farrar and Joe Lydon - will all be over 30 next season, so Connolly's destination would be obvious if he was to leave. The strong rumour in Wigan is that a deal is already agreed, but, if so, it is being kept under wraps.

Before that, however, Connolly has another club to join. When St Helens finish their Premiership commitments, he is off to the Sydney club, Canterbury. There he will link up again with Jarrod McCracken, who played as a guest for Saints earlier in the season.

'I've played for four and a half years in England and I'm ready for a new challenge,' Connolly, who will celebrate his 22nd birthday in Australia, said.

St Helens also have Phil Veivers back in the reckoning after injury, while Leeds, with yet another last chance to salvage something from their disappointing season, will be at full strength.