THERE’S no doubt if you were to pick a highlight from last season then it would be the players that came in and cemented their places in the first team after strong performances.
Saints suffered with injuries in 2013 and as a result Head Coach Nathan Brown wasn’t afraid to use his squad.
And of the 13 debutants that pulled on the Red Vee last season, EIGHT came through Saints’ top rated Academy system.
Anthony Walker, Jordan Hand, Mark Percival, James Tilley, Luke Thompson, Lewis Charnock, Greg Richards and Dom Speakman all made their bows in 2013.
Saints’ much heralded production line has been the cornerstone of the team since Super League began.
The likes of James Roby, Jonny Lomax and Tommy Makinson came through the system and of the players who have taken part in the Academy’s Australian tours since 2004, more than 30 have appeared in Super League and 19 in Championship or Championship 1.
This year’s tour saw the players beat Wests Tigers and Penrith Panthers too.
Those debutants will have gained vital experience and several are showing signs of progression in pre-season. They have been joined by Andre Savelio, Connor Dwyer and Alex Clare in the 2014 squad.
Mark Percival made his debut earlier in the year and admits it was nerve-wracking but ultimately enjoyable experience.
“I made my debut at home against Leeds,” explained the centre. “It was unbelievable when I was told. I had trained with the squad during the week and when Nathan told me I was completely shocked and couldn’t believe it at first.
“I was happy and excited; it was a big game and I wasn’t expecting to play so soon.”
He continues: “It was a big jump. The game itself it was scary at first and you don’t think that you are going to be able to do it but with the encouragement of all the players around me I relaxed and got into it. I had to concentrate the whole game and not switch off.”
Percy went on to make what is considered to be one of the best debuts ever in a Saints shirt – and his pre-season work is certainly putting him in contention for more matches this season.
Eight came in 2013…how many will come through the system this year?
There’s EIGHT days left to take advantage of the Early Bird offers on Season Tickets.
Adults can get nearly three games free by purchasing a season ticket and as well as getting home and away games free, junior season tickets are priced the same as 2006 prices.
And, you can also take advantage of 10 per cent off items in the Superstore as well as priority availability for cup and play-off games. You can also save £15 on the 2014 home and away shirt if you buy them together.
To find out more click here.
If you want to use our interactive seat picker to find out what is available in the Totally Wicked North and Solarking South Stands click here and select Season Tickets.
Fans can buy their season tickets at the link above, at the Ticket Office at Langtree Park or by calling 01744 455 052.
Be part of it and be the heartbeat – #saintsheartbeat