St Helens confirm signing of Regan Grace replacement in unique and surprising deal

St Helens have confirmed their replacement for Regan Grace in 2023 with the signing of Tee Riston from Barrow Raiders for the 2023 season.

Ritson though bizarrely joins the club on loan with an option to buy.

The move will see Ritson make the step up from the Championship to Super League for the first time in his career, and follow in the footsteps of the likes of Alex Walmsley and Joe Batchelor as high-profile championship players to make the similar step up with us here at Saints.

Ritson started his career at Workington Town coming through their academy, and in 2016 he picked up three club awards including the Players’ Player of the Year following a break-out season for the young winger which also saw him receive an international call-up for Thailand.

For the 2018 season, he moved to Newcastle Thunder but only spent a season there before moving to Barrow for their 2019 season in the Championship, where he again impressed bagging 12 tries in 23 appearances, in a season where Barrow we’re unfortunately relegated to League 1.

With the curtailment of the season due to covid in 2020, Riston’s next chance to show his skills would be in 2021, and that he did, picking up 22 tries in just 15 appearances as Barrow regained a spot in the Championship for 2022.

Already attracting interest, Ritson had eyes on him from the start of the season with his eye-catching pace and try scoring ability. His most high-profile game to date was the Challenge Cup tie against Huddersfield Giants in which the Championship outfit put up an admirable fight and Riston, as he had been doing all year, picked up yet another eye-catching try.

Ritson went on to finish the season with Barrow having played 31 games picking up 33 tries, ending the season as the Betfred Championship’s top try scorer

With the departure of Saints’ Regan Grace to Racing in French Rugby Union, the number 5 shirt went to Jon Bennison, but Ritson’s loan capture will add cover and competition for places on both wings.

New head coach Paul Wellens said on Ritson: “Tee is a player we’ve been watching a lot this season, especially once we knew we’d be looking at the season with one less winger and we’d need more competition within the squad.

“His pace and athleticism are there for everyone to see and he’s had an impressive year as he was crowned the top try scorer in the championship last season.

“He has a great work ethic and a fantastic attitude which I’m sure will see him continue to develop with us at Saints over the coming season.

“We can’t wait to welcome him into our system and get going.”

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