St Helens coach Paul Wellens has explained why the club recalled Ireland international Dan Norman from his loan spell at Leigh Leopards.
The 25-year-old prop recently impressed during a short loan spell for Leigh, playing three games in consecutive weeks for the Leopards.
All of which came off the bench before Norman was recalled by his parent club Saints last week.
Playing in the reserves’ win over Warrington at the weekend, he has now been named in Wellens’ 21-man squad to face Super League leaders Catalans Dragons on Thursday night.
“Dan was short of playing time here and Leigh were very keen to take him on loan,” Wellens told Love Rugby League.
“I think for him to go there and play at the level he wants to play at, which is Super League level, was important for him.
“It was great to get him that opportunity, but with where we are at as a squad now, it was important that we recalled him.
“It is a squad game and your squad depth gets tested at times, so having Dan back is great for us.
“He is a brilliant player and a brilliant person as well, like a lot of our team, so having him back has been good for us.”
Dan Norman no stranger to Leigh
Penning a 12-month extension to his deal at the Totally Wicked Stadium in June 2022, the prop is off-contract come the end of 2023.
Norman initially joined Saints ahead of the 2021 season, and has so far made almost as many appearances on loan elsewhere than he has for his parent club.
Between Salford, two spells at Leigh and a four-game stint at Swinton earlier this year before getting injured, the Irish international has amassed 12 appearances. In the meantime, there have been three more for Saints.
The 25-year-old has pulled on a Leigh shirt as both a Centurion and a Leopard. Having played two matches for the Leythers on dual-registration last term as they sealed a return to Super League, Norman then made the journey back up the East Lancs in 2023.
Leigh Leopards boss predicts ‘big future’ for St Helens loanee
Last month, Rugby League Live reported that Norman is set to leave the Saints upon the expiry of his contract at the end of the season, with Leigh set to bolster their squad further for 2024, although nothing has not yet been confirmed by either club.
Speaking after a victory over Hull KR earlier this month, Leopards boss Adrian Lam told Love Rugby League he was ‘excited for the future’ with Norman.
“He’s going to have a big future for us Dan, I’m really hopeful of getting him to a level that’s as good as any in Super League,” Lam said.
“He hasn’t played much rugby over the last two years. He’s been in a really good system there (at St Helens) but hasn’t played that much, so I think with every game he plays for us and the longer minutes he plays, the better he’s going to be.
“He played with us last year in the Championship and I really liked how he went about things.
“I thought that if we could just get a hold of him, I think we can take him to another level and I’m really excited about that project ahead.
“I’m really excited to see how he develops.”