"I'm pretty shocked," he said as Saints began their preparations for their final eliminator against Leeds this Sunday. "He's been in tremendous form the last couple of months. I'm upset for the lad myself, because I thought he should be in. I just hope he goes out and proves them wrong."
Although no squad has been named officially, leaks suggest that Leeds' Francis Cummins is the one specialist left-winger on the list - and even he admits to being taken aback by Sullivan's absence.
"It's certainly a bit of a surprise if a player like him can't get in, because there's only a handful of wingers around," he said.
Sullivan's position is complicated by the continuing negotiations for him to play rugby union in Wales this winter. One of his team-mates in the Wales rugby league side took that route yesterday when Jason Critchley signed for Newport.
Critchley becomes the second Castleford player, after Barrie Jon Mather's departure for Sale, to switch codes this year and he admitted that the prospect of forcing his way into the national side was a major incentive.
"I've spoken to the Welsh coach and I'm looking on it as a great opportunity," he said. "Cas only offered me the same deal I was on and this was a far better offer."
Terry Newton, drafted into Great Britain's squad for the series against New Zealand, is Leeds' latest doubt against St Helens. The hooker has injured a shoulder and, along with Adrian Morley and Marc Glanville, is unlikely to play.
If Leeds reach the Grand Final and have an overseas player injured, they could decide on Sunday night to add Wendell Sailor to their squad. The Brisbane and Australia wing is due to arrive this weekend to play rugby union for Leeds Tykes, but at present only has a permit to play in league.
Paul Broadbent, a contender to play prop against the Kiwis, is on the transfer list at Sheffield after 11 years at his only professional club. Broadbent, who captained the Eagles to their memorable Wembley victory in May, had sought an extended contract to take him beyond the end of his present agreement next year.
Malcolm Reilly has made the first signing for his new club, Huddersfield, bringing in the St George centre, Jim Lennihan, on a 12-month contract.
The experienced Australian referee, Bill Harrigan, will take charge of all three Tests against New Zealand, starting at Huddersfield on 31 October.Reuse content