St Helens will be in something of a rebuilding stage going into the 2022 Super League season.
After losing the likes of Lachlan Coote, James Bentley and Kevin Naiqama – with Theo Fages heavily rumoured to leave also – head coach Kristian Woolf has gone about bringing in quality replacements as well as tying down some of the highly-rated stars within his squad.
“We’re getting a really good look at some of the players we have shown faith in that we want to be here long-term,” Woolf said.
“Joe Batchelor has been really key for us this year, he’s done a terrific job and from my point of view he’s getting better and better each week he is playing.
“His game is based on toughness and effort and he’s doing that every week, but he’s also adding some more skill and detail.”
Woolf has also praised his young halfbacks for the way they have taken the responsibility of guiding the team around on their shoulders.
“Lewis Dodd and Jack Welsby are a real glimpse into the future.
“I don’t think any other team could lose their starting 6 and 7 and play as well as we have done in the past couple of weeks and that’s testament to those two.”
The Saints boss drew attention to the signing of Will Hopoate and what he will bring to St Helens.
“I’ve spoken plenty of times what sort of a person he is and how he fits into our group but also the quality he has as a player.
“He was in our top three players for Tonga when we beat Australia in 2019 and he really stood up to be counted.
“He has a whole lot of class and I think fans should be really excited about the whole package of players we will have.”