With the recent signing of Konrad Hurrell from Leeds for the 2022 campaign, we take a look at how St Helens could line up next season.
Kristian Woolf’s side have completed the signings of Hurrell, Will Hopoate, Curtis Sironen, Joey Lussick and James Bell for next year, with several departing the club. Daniel Hill has also joined the club from Widnes.
James Bentley has agreed to join the Rhinos in 2022, while full-back Lachlan Coote will join Tony Smith’s Hull KR. Huddersfield have snapped up France international Theo Fages, while Joel Thompson and Kevin Naiqama have both retired. Josh Eaves and Nico Rizzelli have also left the club.
Here’s how St Helens could look in 2022…
1 Jack Welsby
The 2020 Grand Final hero has rightly earned a starting spot in the squad following the departure of goal-kicking full-back Coote. The 20-year-old made his debut in 2018, and has gone on to feature across the field for the Saints, including full-back, centres and in the halves. In 2021, he scored 13 tries and assisted 13 more.
2 Tommy Makinson
Tommy Makinson is one of the best wingers in Super League. He has also been named to start against France for England in the international fixture at Perpignan’s Stade Gilbert Brutus on Saturday.
3 Will Hopoate
Will Hopoate has made the switch from the NRL to join the Totally Wicked Stadium side on a two-year deal. The 29-year-old can feature in the centres or at full-back, and makes the move to England following 172 NRL appearances for Manly, Parramatta and Canterbury. He has also won 11 caps for Tonga and captained the nation in the 2017 World Cup.
4 Mark Percival
Another no-mover is Mark Percival. The 27-year-old scored 11 tries in 19 appearances in 2021, and when fit, is one of the best centres in the competition. Hurrell’s arrival will keep Percival on his toes, but there’s no doubt that he’ll want to impress once more with the World Cup looming.
5 Regan Grace
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Welsh international signed a new one-year deal with the club for the 2022 season, and is another top performer in the Super League competition. In 2021, he scored 12 tries.
6 Jonny Lomax
In 2020, Jonny Lomax topped the Super League charts for try assists and earned a dream team inclusion, and impressed again in 2021 to earn an England call-up to face France.
7 Lewis Dodd
Following the departure of Fages to Huddersfield, young Lewis Dodd should make the step up to the number seven jersey in 2022. He played 21 games last season, scoring five tries, and started in their 2021 Grand Final triumph.
8 Alex Walmsley
Arguably the best prop in the Super League competition, Walmsley scored five tries in 25 appearances for the Saints in 2021. He joined the club from Batley ahead of the 2013 season, and has gone on to earn international honours with England and Great Britain and a place in the 2020 Super League dream team.
9 James Roby
2022 will be the last season for James Roby and he will be looking at making it a record four Grand Final wins in a row next season. Roby did however confirm his international retirement earlier in September.
10 Matty Lees
The Rochdale Mayfield amateur joined the club at the age of 16, and has gone on to become a stand-out forward for the club. In 2021, he made 15 appearances.
11 Curtis Sironen
St Helens confirmed the signing of Curtis Sironen on a two-year deal from Manly Sea Eagles. The 28-year-old back-rower will be a direct replacement for the retiring Thompson, and could see himself with a starting shirt next season.
12 Sione Mata’utia
Sione Mata’utia joined the club in November 2020 on a two-year contract, and was handed the number 14 shirt. The 25-year-old had an impressive first season, scoring five tries in 22 appearances, and may be rewarded with the number 12 shirt to replace Leeds-bound Bentley.
13 Morgan Knowles
Morgan Knowles had a breakthrough season in 2016, playing 24 games, to become a first team regular in the process. He showed massive commitment as a 16-year-old to the club travelling down from Cumbria for Scholarship sessions each week, and will no doubt remain 13 for the club. In 2021, he scored four tries in 17 appearances.
Of course, the bench can change every week dependent on injuries and form, but this is how the club’s strongest bench could look.
Bench: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Joey Lussick, Konrad Hurell and Agnatius Paasi.