Matty Lees has become a key member of the St Helens pack over the last few years and is set to play in his third Grand Final.
Once a man who played second fiddle to Luke Thompson has now made the number 10 shirt his own and has even greater responsibilities on his shoulders going into this week’s Grand Final with Alex Walmsley out injured.
However, the prop at one stage feared he would never play again. This was because of a rare and quite horrible injury he picked up ironically against Grand Final opponents Leeds in 2019 which ruled him out of the rest of the season and a Wembley Challenge Cup Final.
He suffered a ruptured bowl which he described as an injury “no one had ever heard of” and was left in real discomfort by the injury fearing he would not play again but just three years later he’s back at Old Trafford for a third Grand Final and is set to play a key role: “At the time I was probably thinking I would never play again so getting back to playing and winning a Grand Final would be really special.”
A win would see Saints win a record fourth consecutive Grand Final, which to Lees would knock off anyone who doubts this Saints side and their place in history: “It’s making history isn’t it and it would probably put us on that top spot and knock anyone off who is sort of doubting.”
A big part of this success has been coach Kristian Woolf who himself could make history as the first coach to win three titles in a row.
Lees praised Woolf, not just for what he does on the field but the wider community too: “He’s been outstanding for the club, not just the things on the field but away from the field as well, we’ve focused a lot on the community this year and the fans.”