Tommy Makinson explains reasons behind St Helens decision after ’emotional’ week

Drew Darbyshire
Tommy Makinson St Helens Alamy

Tommy Makinson scoring his 200th try for St Helens

It’s been an emotional week for newly-wed Tommy Makinson, who has dealt with a mixture of emotions after announcing his decision to leave his beloved St Helens at the end of the season.

Last Sunday, Makinson announced that he would depart Saints at the season’s end after 14 years in the club’s first team. He is expected to be a Catalans Dragons player in 2025, but it has yet to be officially announced by the French club.

And quite fittingly, Makinson scored his 200th try for St Helens in their 40-10 win over Leeds Rhinos on Friday night in what was his 326th appearance in the Red V.

It has been a rollercoaster of emotions for Makinson, who also married his partner and mother of his two young daughters Beth earlier this week.

“I’m obviously buzzing to go over for that amount of tries for the club, it’s special,” Makinson told Love Rugby League. “I’ve got a lot of great players inside of me, I’m very lucky.

“It’s been an emotional week, I got married this week and I obviously announced that I am going to leave the club so there’s been a mixture of emotions but I’m really proud (to score 200).”

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Tommy Makinson: ‘I’ve got a young family and a lot of my decision was made around that’

St Helens have made no secret of the fact they wanted to keep their star winger Makinson beyond the end of this season, but the England international has opted to embark on a new chapter of his career with his young family.

Speaking to Love Rugby League, Makinson said: “The club has been brilliant, they wanted me to stay. Mike Rush (chief executive), Eamonn (McManus, chairman) and I had some great conversations and they made it clear that they wanted me to stay but I just thought for me it was about a career move, I’ve been at this club for so long.

“Yeah, I could quite easily have stayed and hopefully have won a few more trophies with them but I just thought, for me in the latter stages of my career, just to go somewhere different and play for a different team – it would be the right thing for me at this moment in time.

“I’ll always be grateful to Rushy and Eamonn and Wello (Paul Wellens) for doing everything they could for me and those years when I could’ve moved away (to the NRL) I wanted to stay because of the people around the club and the fans, I love them all so much and I’d like to think I’ve repaid them a bit as well.

“I’ve got a young family as well and a lot of my decision was made around that. I’m really excited by my next move, my next move will hopefully be confirmed pretty soon but I’m really excited for where I’m going next.

“I feel like I’ve got a lot of great rugby left in me as well, I’m not slowing down any, so I’m really excited and hopefully I can add a bit to my next club.”

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Paul Wellens pays tribute to St Helens stalwart after try-scoring milestone

St Helens coach Paul Wellens paid tribute to Makinson after the acrobatic winger scored his 200th try for the club that he is a proud academy product of.

Wellens said: “I’m delighted for him. You can class both Tommy and Lewis (Dodd) in the same bracket.. When there’s a lot of speculation around a player’s future, it can be distracting and it can be difficult, no matter whether you’re Lewis’ age in your 20s or if you’re Tommy in your 30s, but those conversations have been done, the fact they are moving on has been dealt with and I think that’s reflecting in their performances. They seem relaxed, they seem like they’re enjoying it and they are absolutely determined to finish their time at the club in the right way and we’d love nothing more than to help make that happen.”

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