St Helens 2024 season preview

St Helens 2024 season preview

2023 recap

2023 was a ‘nearly year’ for Saints, who were looking to make it five straight Super League titles. They finished third in the regular season – level on points with the two sides above them – they lost their play-off semi-final to a last-second try from arch-nemesis Sam Tomkins, and suffered a narrow two-point defeat to Leigh in the Challenge Cup semi-final. On the bright side though, they started the year with a 13-12 win in Australia against the mighty Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge, so there was still some silverware to show for their valiant effort over the campaign.

2023 position: 3rd

Key signings

Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves), Matt Whitley (Catalans Dragons), Waqa Blake (Parramatta Eels)

Key departures

Taylor Pemberton (York Knights), Jumah Sambou (Oldham), Wesley Bruines (Warrington Wolves), Dan Norman (Leigh Leopards), Lewis Baxter (Leigh Leopards), Matty Foster (Salford Red Devils), James Roby (Retired), Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook (Retired), Will Hopoate (Retired)

Players to watch

Daryl Clark has huge boots to fill following James Roby’s retirement, but if anyone in Super League is up to the job, it’s the former Warrington man, who will become only the third player to wear the number 9 for Saints in Super League, in what will be their 29th season.

Jack Welsby continues to go from strength to strength, and there’s a reason why he’s the bookies favourite to be named Man of Steel in 2024. The 22-year-old has already won four Grand Finals, a Challenge Cup and a World Club Challenge, and his new four-year contract was one of the best bits of news for the whole competition at the end of 2023. It’s surely just a matter of time before he heads Down Under, but for now, we should enjoy him while he’s still here.

Young gun

2023 was a breakout season for 20-year-old prop, George Delaney, who has been rewarded with the number 20 shirt for this year. Expect to see him become a fixture in the matchday squad in 2024.

Our prediction – 2nd

After falling short in Super League and the Challenge Cup in 2023, I’m expecting Saints to come back with a bang in 2024. Not that they were far off last year of course, but this time around they’ll be desperate to get their hands on more trophies. James Roby and LMS are two huge losses, but in Daryl Clark they have the ideal Roby replacement, while Waqa Blake and Matt Whitley are both solid additions, too. And as is usually the case with St Helens, it’s been a pretty low turnover of players, so a settled squad should bode well for them.

Darren Notley

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