St Helens stalwart Jonny Lomax recalls ’emotional’ moment when receiving captaincy; Club confirm he will succeed the legendary James Roby

Ben Olawumi
Jonny Lomax

St Helens ace Jonny Lomax warms up ahead of a game in 2023 - Alamy

St Helens have confirmed Jonny Lomax will be their captain for the upcoming 2024 season, with the stalwart succeeding Super League legend James Roby following his retirement.

One-club man Roby headed up the Saints on the field for six seasons, between 2018 and 2023, with the legendary hooker leading his hometown club to four consecutive Super League titles in that time.

Lomax is another of the Red V’s academy products, joining the club aged 11 and progressing through the ranks to make his senior debut against Wakefield Trinity as a fresh-faced 18-year-old in March 2009.

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 7th in Saints’ all-time appearance list, just five off 6th-placed Sean Long, and 4th in their all-time try-scorers list, just the one off levelling 3rd-placed Paul Newlove in that column.

St Helens stalwart Jonny Lomax recalls ’emotional’ moment when receiving captaincy

The former Orrell St James youngster – who has 11 England caps and four for Great Britain to his name – is a boyhood Saints fan, and described being handed the captaincy of the club as a ‘huge honour’.

He was told that he would be leading the Saints out in 2024 during their recent pre-season camp in Cyprus.

In a press release, Lomax said: “This is a huge honour for me. Upon being told the news when were in camp, it was pretty emotional as well.

“I am a boyhood Saints fan and I stood on the terraces at Knowsley Road, so it’s quite nice to take over that mantle. It’s a huge honour, I’m proud of it. I hope to do everybody else proud as well with what we can do in the season ahead.

“Robes is a huge act to follow, it’s a huge ask, but he was a good person to learn from at the same time. He’s taught me some good lessons along the way.

“Sometimes having a tough act to follow can get the most out of you. Like when people say that you can’t do things on the field, you’ve got that bit of stubbornness, that bit of, ‘Come on, we’ll get after it,’ and I think that’s what’s exciting about this year.”

St Helens confirm Lomax will succeed the legendary James Roby as club captain with praise from boss Paul Wellens & chair Eamonn McManus

Lomax spent seven years playing in the same side as hometown hero Paul Wellens, and is now coached by the same man, an ever-present during his former team-mates’ first year at the helm in 2023 as he featured in all 33 of Saints’ games.

Wellens – who was also the club’s captain during his playing days – lauded his new leader, saying: “It gives me great pleasure to announce Jonny as the new captain of St Helens.

“He has been an integral part of the club’s recent success and for many years now has held and driven the very highest standard.

“As head coach, I don’t feel I’m giving Jonny an opportunity… I very much feel like this is an opportunity earned by himself and I know that he will be immensely proud to lead the team in 2024.

“I feel confident that Jonny, with the support of his team-mates, can drive the team on to further success in the future.”

Like Wellens and Lomax, Saints chairman Eamonn McManus is a local, and added his delight in this morning’s press release, re-affirming: “Jonny has been a leading player for St Helens throughout his 15 years in the first team.

“No one is more committed or more dedicated to the club and to its continued success at the highest level. He is highly respected throughout the club and the game, and he has all the attributes to lead us to further success.

“It’s also great to see that consecutive club captains have come through our academy system who are lifelong Saints supporters.”

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