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2021 St Helens RLFC Team Preview

Following one of the most spectacular seasons in Super League history. Ben Guzdek sees how the Champions will get on in 2021.

Saints have become one of the top Super League sides in recent years, having won back-to-back Grand Finals under two coaches. Can they make it a third consecutive year?

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Signings

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Sione Mata’utia (Newcastle Knights), Agnatius Paasi (New Zealand Warriors), Joel Thompson (Manly Sea Eagles), Dan Norman (London Broncos).

Departures

Matty Costello (Salford Red Devils), Jack Ashworth (Huddersfield Giants), Dominic Peyroux (Toulouse Olympique), Callum Hazard (North Wales Crusaders), Joseph Paulo (Toulouse Olympique), James Graham (Retired), Cameron Brown (North Wales Crusaders), Joe Sharratt (Barrow Raiders), Matty Foster (Leigh Centurions – Loan), Josh Greaves (Leigh Centurions – Loan).

First Five

Salford Red Devils (H), Hull Kingston Rovers (A), Wakefield Trinity (H), Huddersfield Giants (A), Leigh Centurions (A).

WHAT TO EXPECT

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Having cut a few of their reserves, St Helens were able to use their salary cap on three overseas players who’s reputation proceeds them having come from the highly regarded NRL.

Many Rugby League fans are excited to see the arrival of Sione Mata’utia, who will strengthen the back row after the departure of Dominic Peyroux.

Mata’utia, who is the younger brother of Castleford Tigers’ Peter as well as NRL players Chanel and Pat Mata’utia, captained the Knights at just 20 years of age old, on his way to amassing a total of 124 NRL appearances, scoring 31 tries.

The powerful Australian, who can play in a number of positions, including second row, loose forward and centre, played seven seasons with the Knights and helped them reach the finals in 2020.

Joel Thompson brings to Saints experience in their forward pack after a solid NRL career with Canberra Raiders, St George-Illawarra Dragons and more recently Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.

On paper Saints could storm through their first five fixtures, although it was an in-form Hull Kingston Rovers side that took them to Golden Point where it could’ve gone wrong for the champions.

The bookies tie them with Wigan as favourites for the League Leaders Shield and Grand Final. Although we can’t write off the rest of the competitors, Saints will arguably be the team to beat this year.

FEARLESS PREDICTIONS

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Top Tryscorer – Tommy Makinson

Top Pointscorer – Jonny Lomax

Club Player of the Year – Lachlan Coote

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