This season is a big season for the Robins. After a blip last year, it is their chance to kick on after the success of 2021 and build on Tony Smith’s good work in the past as new boss Willie Peters takes charge.
He will have a strong squad to name his side from but what will his first choice 17 look like in 2023?
Fullback: Lachlan Coote
Most Super League clubs would kill to have a three time Champion at fullback. One of Super League’s most underrated and key to St Helens’ recent success, when fit in 2022 he was exceptional.
Wingers: Ethan Ryan and Ryan Hall
After two stand out seasons, Ethan Ryan has earnt the number two shirt in 2023. He will have to fend off new signing and former Huddersfield Giants man Louis Senior on the wing. Meanwhile, one of Super League’s best ever wingers is a certainty on the left.
Centres: Tom Opacic and Shaun Kenny-Dowall
A member of the 2022 Dream Team and the Robins captain, Shaun Kenny-Dowall is guaranteed a spot at centre and will likely be joined by new signing from Parramatta Eels Tom Opacic in an exciting backline.
Halfbacks: Mikey Lewis and Jordan Abdull
One of the most exciting halfback partnerships in Super League, full of creativity it was a shame that we didn’t get to see them very often in 2022. Rowan Milnes is also vying for a spot.
Props: Matty Storton and George King
A strong and hard working front row to start the game. Plenty of size and work ethic to get the Robins going down the middle of the field before some of the exciting NRL recruits come on.
Hooker: Matt Parcell
Both Matt Parcell and Jez Litten are worthy of starting. Both bring excitement and speed around the ruck and dovetail beautifully as the swap throughout the game.
Second-Rowers: Frankie Halton and Kane Linnett
One of the best backrows in the league. Linnett offers real power and threat on a potent left edge for the Robins. Meanwhile, Halton was a real find last year and is developing into the ideal modern second-row.
Loose-Forward: Elliot Minchella
A loose-forward with a bit of skill. Not just a ball playing 13 but also a 13 who can offload and spark something from nothing. He is a great leader too.
Substitutes: Jez Litten, Sauaso Sue, Rhys Kennedy and James Batchelor
As aforementioned, Litten can bring speed and skill off the bench to cause a tired defence problems and these could be exacerbated by the impact of two big former NRL forwards in Sue and Kennedy who will bring impact. Willie Peters will then have a choice of James Batchelor to cover the backrow or further middle power in the shape of Sam Luckley.