St Helens will want to replicate last seasons feat by becoming back to back champions. Here is a preview of the upcoming Super League season.
Not often do a team go into the season without making a single signing but Saints are confident that they can do the business once again. Many of Saints’ stars such as Regan Grace , Theo Fages and Jack Welsby were given improved contracts during last season meaning that keeping their Super League winning team together would have taken up most of the salary cap. Unless a genuine world class player became available then it was very unlikely that Saints would make a signing. To put more depth into the squad they have promoted Lewis Dodd, Nico Rizelli, Matty Foster, Tom Nisbet and Jake Wingfield from the academy.
St Helens usually get it right when it comes to releasing players and not often does it come to bite them on the backside but Danny Richardson could be a player they regret leaving. Richardson was superb in their 2018 season as he was named in the Dream Team but last season Justin Holbrook preferred Theo Fages partnering Jonny Lomax in the halves. Richardson is still fairly young at 23 and could blossom under Daryl Powell. His partnership with Jake Trueman will be one of the most feared in Super League. Saints however have put their faith in young Lewis Dodd as back up. Saints rate the 17 year old very highly and he performed superbly on their academies tour of Australia last year.
DEPARTURES: Liam Cooper (Widnes Vikings) Danny Richardson (Castleford Tigers) Adam Swift (Hull FC).
1. Lachlan Coote, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Kevin Naiqama, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Regan Grace, 6. Jonny Lomax, 7. Theo Fages, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Luke Thompson, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Dominique Peyroux, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Morgan Knowles, 15. Matty Lees, 16. Kyle Amor, 17. Jack Ashworth, 18. Joseph Paulo, 19. Aaron Smith, 20. James Bentley, 21. Matty Costello, 22. Jack Welsby, 23. Joe Batchelor, 24. Josh Eaves, 25. Callum Hazzard, 26. Josh Simm, 27. Lewis Dodd, 28. Nico Rizzelli, 29. Matty Foster, 30. Tom Nisbet, 31. Jake Wingfield.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Expectations have always been high at Saints and this season they will want to go one better and complete a domestic treble. Saints on paper still have the best team in the competition and the lack of signings should not be a problem. The was a sign of things to come this season when Kristian Woolf guided Tonga to wins over Great Britain and Australia playing an entertaining brand of rugby, a similar style to his predecessor Justin Holbrook. Saints’ first three games are as hard as they come. First up they are at home against their Grand Final opponents Salford and then an away games to bitter rivals Warrington Wolves and Hull FC. Then then play Sydney Roosters in the World Club Challenge. They will want to put in a big performance and compete after they were embarrassed 39-0 by South Sydney.
Leading Tryscorer: Regan Grace
Leading Pointscorer: Lachlan Coote
Player of 2020: Luke Thompson