SAINTS have signed Matthew Haggarty from Dewsbury Rams on a three-year contract.
The 24-year-old prop forward has been immediately loaned back to the Rams but will train each week with Keiron Cunningham’s squad.
Matthew played for Leigh Miners as a junior before moving into the system at Salford in 2008.
He then moved to Whitehaven and made 26 appearances over two seasons before joining Barrow in 2013.
There, he switched to Oldham and was picked up by Dewsbury last season where he played 27 matches.
Saints CEO Mike Rush said: “We’re delighted to have agreed terms with Matthew. He is a forward of promise and we look forward to seeing him develop within our system.
“We are constantly looking for new talent throughout the Rugby League pyramid and Derek Traynor, Head Coach of our 19s, recommended we took a look at Matthew.
“We like what we see and we are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Rams. They have been very professional in our dealings.
“Matthew will train for us during the week and play with Dewsbury where we will monitor his progress.”
Matthew will join Saints on March 1 and is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“I am excited by the opportunity of taking a contract with Saints but at the same time sad to be leaving Dewsbury although I will be staying with them for the rest of the season,” he said. “I’d like to thank Mark Sawyer for giving me the chance and Glenn Morrison for the hard work he has put into me over the last two seasons to get me in a position were a club from Super League shows interest.
“When they signed me my career was in the balance and to be honest I’d lost my confidence. Glenn and the great atmosphere in the changing rooms got me back on track. I’d like to thank all the lads and the fans very much.
“I’m really excited to be joining such a great club in Saints and with the current crop of players I’m sure we will be challenging for honours for years to come.
“On a personal note I’d like to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Chris Hill and Alex Walmsley in breaking in and establishing myself as a Super League player.”
Rams’ coach Glenn Morrison spoke about Matthew’s development as a player and how this reflects on the club.
“We identified Matty while he was with Barrow and continued to keep tabs on his progress when he was playing in Championship 1,” he said. “He’s a good kid who has always been eager to learn and he’s really developed as a player during the last 12 months”
“We always knew there was something there and that’s been proven by this approach by St Helens. It’s a great opportunity for him”
“It’s fantastic for him that a club like Saints has come in for him and a good reflection on the club that we’re developing players of this calibre.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Matty throughout 2015 and we’ll keep tabs on his progress with Saints, and continue to work with Saints in the years ahead.”
Dewsbury Chairman Mark Sawyer added: “In recent weeks three Super League clubs have shown an interest in Matthew.
“I would like to thank St.Helens for the professional manner in which they have dealt with the transfer, but also in the compensation package they offered to the Rams.
“This includes Matthew being loaned at Saints cost to us for the rest of the season along with a friendly game at Langtree Park prior to 2016 with all proceeds to the Rams. These, along with the other elements, made it a very acceptable agreement.
“It is important young players have the chance to step up to Super League should the chance arise. I will be sad to see Matthew go but I for one will watch his progress with great interest.”