St Helens head into the Super League 2021 season with heavy expectations and will hope to meet those expectations as they look to claim their third successive title in a row – the three-peat.
Jack Welsby’s late try wrapped up a second successive Grand Final win, but the Saints will look to do one better by becoming the first team to claim three straight, since Leeds Rhinos in 2007/08/09.
The Saints have spent wisely this offseason and have bolstered their squad by bringing in NRL veterans Joel Thompson, Agnatius Paasi, and Sione Mata’Utia, who made 124 appearances for Newcastle Knights despite only being 24-years-old.
Super League 2021: Saints just get stronger
The Saints have been forced to replenish their forward pack this season after James Graham and Zeb Taia both retired while longtime servant Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook is approaching the backend of his career too. Look for Matty Lees to play a bigger role as one of the starting props while James Bentley looks set to move to the back-row permanently after he was given Dominique Peyroux’s vacated number 12 jersey.
While St Helens boast arguably the strongest spine in the competition with Lachlan Coote, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, and James Roby in key command of the 1,6,7 and 9 jerseys respectively.
James Roby showing no signs of slowing down for @Saints1890 this season 😤
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) March 22, 2021
The quartet made a combined 64 appearances for the Saints in 2020 and combined for 18 tries, while also being key facilitators and leaders on the park. By all accounts, Roby is going all guns blazing in preseason too, despite his advancing age.
The return of Percival and ones to watch
Despite not signing a senior back this offseason, a fully fit Mark Percival stands to be an unofficial new signing and will provide a massive boost for Kristian Woolf. Percival played just four Super League games in 2020 due to a hamstring injury, look for him to add another spark to the Saints star-studded team.
Kristian Woolf’s men enter the campaign with 10 youngsters on their books, with Sam Royle the only one yet to make his debut for the club. Royle is highly regarded at the Totally Wicked Stadium having come through their academy, look for him to make an impact this season.
While others to watch out for include the likes of Josh Simm, who starred in a 12-10 defeat to Salford last October, young half-back Lewis Dodd, Ben Davies, Josh Eaves, Jake Wingfield, and newly signed winger Dan Norman. All six of those will look to follow in the footsteps of former Saints youngsters Regan Grace, Jack Welsby (see main photo), and Morgan Knowles and break into the Saints side at some point this season.
Last seasons finish- 2nd on the table (Grand Final Winners)
Meet the St Helens 2021 squad:
1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Tommy Makinson, 3 Kevin Naiqama, 4 Mark Percival, 5 Regan Grace, 6 Jonny Lomax, 7 Theo Fages, 8 Alex Walmsley, 9 James Roby, 10 Matty Lees, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 James Bentley, 13 Morgan Knowles, 14 Sione Mata’utia, 15 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 16 Kyle Amor, 17 Agnatius Paasi, 18 Jack Welsby, 19 Aaron Smith, 20 Joe Batchelor, 21 Lewis Dodd, 22 Josh Simm, 23 Jake Wingfield, 24 Josh Eaves, 25 Dan Norman, 26 Tom Nisbet, 27 Matty Foster, 28 Nico Rizzelli, 29 Ben Davies, 30 Sam Royle.
As we approach the start of the 2⃣0⃣2⃣1⃣ @SuperLeague season this Friday, we wanted to update Members on some key info ahead of the season…. 🔴⚪️🔴⚪️
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) March 24, 2021
Notable additions: Joel Thompson (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Agnatius Paasi (New Zealand Warriors), Dan Norman (London Broncos), Sione Mata’Utia (Newcastle Knights)
Notable losses: James Graham (retirement), Zeb Taia (ret), Dominque Peyroux and Joseph Paulo (Toulouse Olympique)
2021 Super League St Helens prediction: 2nd place
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images