St Helens boss Paul Wellens has appointed Morgan Knowles and Jack Welsby as vice-captains to assist skipper Jonny Lomax in 2024.
Last week, the Saints announced that club stalwart Jonny Lomax will captain his boyhood club for the upcoming season, succeeding the legendary James Roby following his retirement.
And Lomax will be assisted by two fellow homegrown talents in the shape of powerhouse forward Knowles and star full-back Welsby, all of whom have played for England on the international stage.
Speaking to Love Rugby League at Saints’ media day, Knowles said: “It’s definitely an honour, hopefully I can do Wello (Paul Wellens) and the boys justice. I’m pretty proud.
“I had a private chat with Wello and he said ‘this is what I’m thinking of doing for the leadership group, the captaincy and how I’m structuring it for this year’. He told me when we were out in Cyprus on our pre-season camp.”
Cumbrian forward Knowles has made 200 appearances for St Helens since making his first team debut back in 2015, with his fellow vice-captain Welsby playing 117 games despite still only being 22 years of age.
“I think Jack is in it because he’s got a massive influence on the team,” Knowles continued.
“As for his leadership – he’ll probably admit it himself – there’s improvement in him in how he can lead the group better – but as for his influence on the field and everything like that, everyone knows how good he is and the impact he can have on the game and us as a group. I think that’s why he’s in there, Wello trying to get a bit more out of him in that leadership role.”
Jonny Lomax ‘definitely the right man’ for St Helens captaincy, says Morgan Knowles
Since then, a further 325 competitive appearances in the club’s colours have followed for the Billinge-born ace, scoring 133 tries in the process with numerous trophy lifts along the way.
Now 33, the half-back is seventh in Saints’ all-time appearance list, just five off sixth-placed Sean Long, and fourth in their all-time try-scorers list, just the one off levelling third-placed Paul Newlove in that column.
“Jonny is brilliant, I can’t speak highly enough of him,” Knowles added. “He’s definitely the right man for it (the captaincy).
“He’s influential on and off the field, leads by his actions and he’s detailed but can also see the bigger picture of the group.
“For him to be a hometown boy and have supported the club (growing up), I’m made up for him. I think it will be special for him leading the boys out for the first time in round one.”