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Season Preview: St Helens

Last seasons league-leaders have recruited extremely well over the off-season. Ben Barba has left but with plenty of top quality additions that will still be a force to be reckoned with.

They were dominant throughout 2018 but ended disappointingly, failing to reach either the Challenge Cup Final or Super League Grand Final.

However, Justin Holbrook can not afford to look back on last seasons failures but will want to improve this season.

Kevin Naiqama and Lachlan Coote have come in from the NRL, Coote is a direct replacement for Barba, as Naiqama fills in at centre adding further strength to an impressive Saints backline.

Experienced back-rower Joseph Paulo will also add to Holbrook’s ever increasing number of options up front.

Perhaps the biggest boost to the Saints ranks is the return of England forward Alex Walmsley who has made is way back from a worrying back injury. He will partner the impressive Luke Thompson in what is set to  a formidable front-row partnership.

Matty Lees, Jack Ashworth and Jack Welsby will be three youngsters to keep an eye out for when they get their chance on the field.

With James Roby still in the Red V and Jonny Lomax, Danny RIchardson and Theo Fages all in the halfs they are not short of talent when playmaking is concerned.

Tommy Makinson and Regan Grace know how to score tries, as does Mark Percival. It looks as though Saints are in the perfect position going into the 2019 Betfred Super League.

All they need to do is learn how to win the games that matter and get to the finals.

Squad:

Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Mark Percival, Regan Grace, Theo Fages, Danny Richardson, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Zeb Taia, Joseph Paulo, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Luke Douglas, Morgan Knowles, Kyle Amor, Dominique Peyroux, Adam Swift, Matty Lees, Jack Ashworth, Aaron Smith, James Bentley, Lacjlan Coote, Matty Costello, Joe Batchelor, Liam Cooper, Josh Eaves, Callum Hazard, Jack Welsby, Josh Simm.

INS:

Kevin Naiqama (West Tigers), Joe Batchelor (York City Knights), Joseph Paulo (Cronulla Sharks), Lachlan Coote (North Queensland Cowboys).

OUTS:

Jon Wilkin (Toronto Wolfpack), Ben Barba (North Queensland Cowboys), Ben Morris (Rochdale) , Matty Smith (Catalans Dragons), Rob Fairclough (Swinton Lions), Kevin Brown (York City Knights), Liam Cooper (Halifax), Ryan Morgan (London Broncos), Luke Douglas (Leigh Centurions – loan).

PREDICTED LEAGUE FINISH – 1st

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