Warrington Wolves' Blake Austin and Jack Hughes injury doubts for Challenge Cup final
By PA Media
Last Updated: 07/08/19 5:10pm
Warrington Wolves could be without Blake Austin and Jack Hughes for the Challenge Cup final on August 24.
Australian stand-off Austin, their top try-scorer and leading candidate for the Man of Steel award in his first season in Super League, has an ankle sprain while second rower Hughes has a ruptured testicle.
Both players picked up their injuries in Saturday's stormy clash with Catalans Dragons in Perpignan and have been ruled out of Thursday's Cup final rehearsal with St Helens at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
"Blake went for scans and has got an ankle sprain," Warrington coach Steve Price said.
"It's too early at the moment to say how long he'll be out. He's just got to compress it and wait for it to settle down. We will know more in the next couple of weeks.
"We'll get him moving again and see where we get to. Blake is the ultimate professional. He is meticulous in his preparation and will do everything right to get back on the field as quickly as he can."
The loss of Austin, who has started all 27 league and cup matches so far this year, would be a body blow to the Wolves' chances of improving on their runners-up spot at Wembley last August.
"At the end of the day it's a team sport and we don't rely on one individual," Price added.
"But he's been an important cog in our team to date. We love what he brings. He's added a dimension to our team. We'll have to punch on and I know whoever comes in will do a good job."
Former Wigan and St Helens scrum-half Matty Smith has been recruited as a short-term replacement but cannot play at Wembley because he was signed after the transfer deadline.
Hughes, the club's co-captain who has missed only one game so far this year, suffered a ruptured testicle half-an-hour into Saturday's game but, unaware of the extent of the injury, played on to the end.
"Jack was unbelievable," Price said. "He was very courageous to play 50 minutes straight.
"He's one tough dude. He got rushed to hospital and got operated on that night.
"He's home safely now and doing well. Hopefully he won't miss too many games. He's in the process of seeing a specialist back here in the UK at the moment.
"Knowing Jack he's one tough guy and will do all he can to get back."