An ultimate 13 of rugby league players born in St Helens including current Saints duo

Louis Chapman Coombe

Throughout the summer at Love Rugby League, we’re going to be taking a geographical tour of some of rugby league’s most famous towns and cities and compiling some dream line-ups comprising of active players.

Some places will unsurprisingly throw out star-studded sides with some of the best players in the world included. But some may surprise you about the quality of stars the area has produced.

So far in this feature series, we’ve taken a look at Halifax, Widnes, Warrington, Wigan, Huddersfield, Oldham and Bradford.

Next up: St Helens. Home to the all-conquering Saints, St Helens is a town steeped in rugby league history. The town is also home to some of the finest players to currently play the game. Here is our ultimate 13 of current players born in St Helens.

1. Jonny Lomax

Jonny Lomax St Helens Alamy
Jonny Lomax in action for St Helens

We might be putting some players in different positions in this list, but Jonny Lomax slots in at fullback.

The current St Helens skipper made his debut for the club in 2009, and has since gone onto make 340 appearances for the club. He has also helped them win five Super League Grand Finals, one Challenge Cup and one World Club Challenge.

Lomax also made his England debut at fullback against France; and has gone onto win 15 international caps for both England and Great Britain.

2. Adam Swift

Adam Swift Huddersfield Giants Alamy
Adam Swift scoring for Huddersfield

On the wing is current Huddersfield Giants man Adam Swift. Swift came through the St Helens academy to make his debut in 2012 and went onto play 130 for his hometown club. He also helped them to win two Super League Grand Finals.

In 2020, he made the switch across the Pennines to join Hull FC, and made 64 appearances in Black and White before joining Huddersfield this season. Since joining the Giants, Swift has been on top form; notching 17 tries in just 13 games.

3. Lee Gaskell

Shifting across the backline into the centres is Bradford man Lee Gaskell. Gaskell rose through the St Helens academy to make his first team debut in 2010. After just four seasons in the Red Vee, he joined Salford, however he quickly left to join Bradford Bulls.

After three seasons at Odsal, Gaskell left to join Huddersfield Giants, before moving to Wakefield Trinity. Mid-way through last season, Gaskell returned to Bradford Bulls for a second spell.

He has racked up nearly 200 Super League appearances to date.

READ MORE: An ultimate 13 of rugby league players born in Bradford including Super League, NRL stars

4. Deon Cross

Deon Cross
Deon Cross – Alamy

From a former Red Devil to a current one, Deon Cross takes the number 4 jersey in our team.

Cross made his professional debut for Rochdale Hornets back in 2018, but was quickly snapped up by Barrow after just one season. He didn’t last long in Cumbria either, as Widnes came calling in 2020. After just two years with the Vikings, Cross got a move to Super League to join Paul Rowley’s Salford side, where he still plays now.

Since making his debut for the Red Devils in 2022, he has gone onto make 74 appearances for the club.

5. Josh Simm

Castleford Tigers winger Josh Simm initially came through the St Helens academy to make his debut in 2019. He only made 19 appearances for the club in between loan spells at Leigh and Hull FC, before moving down under to join Queensland Cup side Wynnum-Manly.

During his stint in Australia, he was a mainstay in the Wynnum-Manly team, making 23 appearances in his one and only campaign.

He was snapped up by Castleford ahead of the 2024 season, but picked up a shoulder injury early in the campaign.

6. Carl Forber

Half-back Carl Forber came through the St Helens ranks to make his debut for the club in 2004. He only registered two appearances for the club before moving to Leigh for the 2005 season.

Forber was snapped up by Workington Town in 2007, but left to join Blackpool in 2009, before more moves to Swinton and Oldham.

He returned to Cumbria in 2012 to rejoin Workington and has since played over 270 games for the club.

7. Jamie Ellis

Jamie Ellis
Jamie Ellis in action for Castleford Tigers in 2014

After graduating from the St Helens academy, Jamie Ellis made his debut for the club in 2009. He made just three appearances for the club during his two-year spell, before moving to Leigh in 2011.

After 31 appearances for the then Centurions, he was whisked across to Hull FC, before later joining Castleford Tigers.

He only spent two seasons at the Jungle, before moving over to Huddersfield Giants and Hull KR. Ellis then returned to Castleford in 2018, before re-joining Hull KR and later Leigh.

Ellis moved to York in 2022, and now ply’s his trade for Oldham in League 1.

8. Ant Walker

Ant Walker Bradford Bulls SWpix.jpg
Ant Walker in action for Bradford Bulls in 2022

Welsh international Ant Walker made his debut for the Saints in 2013, and in between loan spells at Rochdale and Whitehaven made but after two seasons moved to Yorkshire with Wakefield Trinity.

He stayed at the Trin for two seasons, before leaving in 2017 following his arteriovenous malformation diagnosis.

Walker returned to the game in 2022, joining Bradford Bulls. He then moved to Widnes in 2023 and has just joined Swinton.

READ MORE: An impressive uncapped England line-up, including Super League and NRL stars

9. Aaron Smith

Hooker Aaron Smith made his St Helens debut in 2018, and amongst stints at York, Hull KR, Featherstone, and Leigh, he made 41 appearances in the red vee.

He joined the Leopards full time in 2023, however he only made two appearances for the club. He also spent part of last season on loan at Rochdale, before moving to Barrow Raiders this season.

10. Carl Forster

Carl Forster Barrow Raiders
Carl Forster in action for Barrow

Experienced front-rower Carl Forster made his St Helens debut in 2011 and went onto make four appearances for his hometown club. He also spent loan spells at Swinton, Rochdale, London and Whitehaven before making a permanent move to Salford Red Devils in 2015.

After two seasons and 16 appearances for Salford, he made the switch to Whitehaven, before moving to Rochdale, Barrow and is now at North Wales Crusaders.

11. Matty Foster

The second current Salford player in our list is Matty Foster. The 22-year-old made his one and only St Helens appearance in 2020.

After some spells out with injury, he moved to Salford ahead of this season, making three appearances so far for Paul Rowley’s side.

12. Matt Whitley

Matt Whitley
Matt Whitley for St Helens this season

The second current St Helens player on this team is new recruit Matt Whitley. The back-rower made his professional debut for Widnes in 2015, and racked up 100 appearances for the Vikings in his four seasons at the club.

He made the switch to the South of France in 2019, and quickly became a core member of Steve McNamara’s side. Whitley made over 100 appearances for Les Dracs and helped them reach two Grand Finals.

Whitely then returned to his hometown club Saints at the start of this season.

13. Danny Langtree

Rounding off our 13 of players born in St Helens is experienced forward Danny Langtree. Langtree joined Oldham in 2012, and went onto become a mainstay in the Roughyeds’ squad.

After a brief loan to Doncaster in 2019, he left Oldham permanently in 2021 to join Barrow, and joined Widnes at the start of the current season.

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