Ex-St Helens star set for sensational return to NRL after year out of the sport

St Helens have had many fine players during the Super League era and many superb forwards are amongst them as well.

Many of them have gone on to play pivotal roles in big games for the club and none less so than Sio Soliola.

The big unit arrived at the club initially as a centre but would play his best rugby in the middle of the pack.

Unfortunately, he arrived just as Saints were starting slip down the pecking order as they lost consecutive Grand Finals in 2010 and 2011. In 2011 they finished outside of the top two for the first time since 2004 and would even finish fifth in 2013.

However, in his final season at the Saints, he enjoyed one last big push for Super League glory and it came off.

The Saints finished top for the first time since 2008 and went on to win the Grand Final against rivals Wigan Warriors in which Soliola was key as he scored the try which gave the Saints the lead 8-6 as they went on to win 14-6 in his last game for the club.

The former New Zealand and Samoa skipper would then go on to have a successful spell at Canberra Raiders reaching the 2019 Grand Final prior to retirement in 2021.

However, after only a year out retired, the powerful forward is set to return to the Raiders in 2023 after being convinced by former Wakefield Trinity halfback Sam Williams to do so.

“I didn’t really have any intentions of returning to the game at any level to be honest,” Soliola told The Canberra Times.

“I was actually enjoying retirement, but Samuel was the biggest influence in the decision.

“Obviously the connection that we have and the history we have was the biggest one.

“Making the time and effort to get out to training will probably be my biggest challenge right now,” he told the publication.

“We’d like to think that with the distribution of a couple of our squad players throughout the region it will definitely lift the level of football to a really good standard that a lot of people can enjoy.”

It’s possible that he will mostly play reserve grade as former Hull KR halfback Terry Campese did until retirement last year but he could very well be in the mix for the first team especially when Origin comes around.

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