St Helens have re-signed young full-back Beri Salihi from rivals Wigan Warriors ahead of the 2024 Women’s Super League campaign, with head coach Matty Smith backing her to ‘make it to the top’.
The 18-year-old is a Saints academy product, but departed the Red V for Wigan in search of gametime at senior level. She is currently in her second year of a Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE), a unique sporting qualification designed to meet the needs of student athletes who exhibit the potential to achieve excellence in their sport.
Salihi got the gametime she was searching for with the Warriors in 2023, making 13 appearances for the team now headed up by former Widnes Vikings chief Denis Betts.
In that time, she scored three tries, including one in July’s Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Leeds Rhinos at Headingley, played out as part of a double-header with Wigan‘s men taking on Hull KR. The teenager now makes the move back over Billinge Hill ahead of 2024.
St Helens swoop to re-sign Beri Salihi from Wigan Warriors as boss Matty Smith lauds young full-back
Saints head coach Smith – who led them to Challenge Cup glory under the Wembley Arch in August – too donned a shirt for both the Red V and the Warriors over the course of his own career, making a return to his hometown club from the DW Stadium at the end of the 2016 campaign.
He took charge of their women’s team ahead of the season just gone, and having now secured Salihi’s signature for 2024, he told the club’s website: “We’re delighted to be able to welcome a player like Beri to the club.
“I have been a fan of hers since I first got into this role, and now I will get the opportunity to work with her over the coming months.
“She is a local girl as well, so she will be in a familiar environment. The girls here are very welcoming and will support her as she gets to grips with her new side.
“She has the potential to make it to the top, and I cannot wait to see her on the pitch in a Saints shirt come 2024!”