Keiron: Right Choice

KEIRON Cunningham says Jon Wilkin’s appointment as Captain was a “natural progression” for the Saints.

“Jon cares about the club and has genuine compassion,” he explained. “How he is as a player and a person typifies what I want my side to be. Every game means so much to him and he comes off the pitch without an ounce of breath in his body. He is the perfect role model for junior players and the community; people look up to him.

“Paul has been a super captain for the club and like Jon, Jonny Lomax, James Roby and Kyle Amor will do anything for the Saints. He is one of the best role models that has ever come out of St Helens.

“It was difficult for me to make the decision but all parties agreed it was probably the best move in the end. Paul wanted to stay involved in the leadership and support Jon.

“Every team evolves; we’d love to think we could play forever and still have the likes of Scully and Longy out there. But it is a natural progression. I’m proud to be looked upon to coach this club, it is a real honour for me. Jon has earned his stripes and won trophies. Paul is still heavily involved in this club. He is still here, training, playing and will have a massive influence on this team now and in the future too.”

Saints play their second pre-season friendly this Sunday when they take on Wigan Warriors at Langtree Park (3pm).

The game will likely see Cunningham reduce his squad to around 21 from the 26 that faced Widnes in what will be an intense game before the season gets underway.

“We’d like to think we will be involved in everything we can,” he added. “We’d like to think with the right preparation and mentality we give ourselves a genuine chance. I am confident in the squad. We have two great half backs in Luke Walsh and Travis Burns, one of the world’s best 9s in James Roby and one of the comp’s best full backs in Jonny Lomax. If we stay fit and have a little luck with injuries, we have a good chance.

“We have become used to injuries in the last couple of seasons so the benefit for me is we have players who are versatile. We know Jordan Turner can play numerous positions as can Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook. It makes life easier as a coach.

“We know it will be a challenging season. We’re champions and everyone will raise their game coming here, teams will have an added incentive and it means a lot for other teams to beat us.

“I saw that on Sunday with Widnes. Some of their staff were posing for pics with the Karalius Cup, showing what it meant for them to play against Saints, the double champions, and beat them.

“It brought it home to me that we will have to raise our game. We are champions and everyone will be coming for us.”

Tickets for Sunday’s game remain on sale and you can also pay on the day.

They are priced:

Solarking South and Totally Wicked North Stands will be £12 for adults, £10 for concessions and Juniors £5.

Hatton’s Solicitors West Terrace tickets are available for £10 (adult) £8 (concession), £5 (Junior).

You can buy your tickets from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or via

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