The final part of our review of the year looks at international call ups and the preparation for the new season.
Alex Walmsley was named Top Metre Maker at the Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel Awards with Luke Gale taking the overall award.
Danny Richardson marked a stellar debut season too with a new contract.
The Academy went on their bi-annual Tour of Australia and came back with three wins from their four games – continuing the strong heritage of touring Saints sides since 2004.
Ricky Bailey and Jonah Cunningham both moved to Leigh Centurions on loan for the 2018 season and joined four others in extending their contracts at the club. Jake Spedding, Liam Cooper, Ben Morris and Aaron Smith all put pen to paper on new deals.
But in-between the excitement of the World Cup and Tour, the sad news about the loss of Tom van Vollenhoven shook the town, club and rugby league world.
There were beautiful tributes from all over the world and the club hosted a celebration of Tom’s life at the Parish Church in St Helens Town Centre.
11 Saints travelled to the World Cup – Jonny Lomax, James Roby, Alex Walmsley and Mark Percival were part of the England side that reached the final, whilst Regan Grace, Morgan Knowles and Ben Morris (Wales), Luke Douglas (Scotland), Theo France (France) and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Kyle Amor (Ireland) bowed out at the group stage.
Saints learnt their fixtures for the 2018 campaign at the beginning of the month – and they will host Castleford on February 2 in the opener.
Justin Holbrook began his first pre-season with the Saints and signed up Dom Peyroux for another season.
Squad numbers for 2018 were also announced with Ben Barba being given the iconic number 23 shirt – Matty Costello joining the first team squad.
A chunk of the squad returned to training on November 6 with Holbrook and the coaching staff putting them through their paces right from the off. Ben Barba also returned whilst Kyle Amor and several other international players came back early too.
Saints and Thatto Heath Crusaders ARLFC joined forces to enter a team in the 2018 Women’s Super League.
Saints and Proud hit the town in earnest as the first team squad visited 63 schools as well as making appearances at our local community clubs, the Saints Superstore and the Christmas Lights Switch on.
The boys continued to train hard as well with all players back and good to go in the final week before Christmas.
And, as a thank you to the fans, Justin Holbrook threw open training for all to watch before the players signed off for Christmas!
Here’s to 2018!