After reaching 350 appearances for the Saints, we take a look back at the first time we saw Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook!
As part of our 150th anniversary year, Club Historian Alex Service has been writing about a number of ‘firsts’ for the club in Saints & Proud – our official Match Programme. You can read each new edition of Saints & Proud for FREE, online ahead of every home game of the season! Check out all our editions by clicking here.
Last Thursday night saw the man who’s name is too long make his 350th match appearance for St Helens, so let’s take a quick look back at appearance number one.
By Alex Service
On 3rd September 2010, Saints announced the signing of one of the most popular players ever to wear the Red V; Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
LMS joined on a four-year deal from Harlequins and it was all part of a re-build of the playing and coaching staff for the 2011 campaign.
“St Helens are entering an exciting time in their history and to be part of that was a great pull,” Louie explained. “Not only will they have a new stadium in 2012 but the quality of players already in the squad means they will be challenging on all fronts.”
It was the changing of the guard. On the same day Bryn Hargreaves joined Bradford Bulls; Keiron Cunningham and Matt Gidley had retired; front-rower Paul Johnson went to Wakefield; Maurie Fa’asavalu went back to rugby union; Nick Fozzard and Jake Emmitt joined Castleford Tigers. In came Aussie Josh Perry, centre Michael Shenton and former Head Coach Mick Potter left for Bradford Bulls, with former Wests Tigers assistant Royce Simmons replacing him.
Louie was to provide power, durability and pace in the front row at a difficult time for the club who had to play their home games at Widnes. Despite the situation, the team still managed to reach the Grand final at the season’s end, although this was to end in defeat at the hands of Leeds. As for LMS, his contribution to the team included 675 tackles; 105 marker tackles and 2672 metres gained – 3rd behind James Roby and James Graham. The general opinion was that we had signed a good ‘un!
But what about his first competitive game in the Red V? Super League XVI began with Magic Weekend, under the closed roof of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Last match on Saturday? Saints v Wigan. ‘Never write off the Saints’ was a mantra soon to be impressed on the new debutant. Wigan went 16-0 up. On the hour, Saints launched an unlikely comeback, with a Jon Wilkin try and the momentum changed considerably, with James Roby [who else?] in superb form. Big Tony Puletua scored shortly after and Francis Meli completed the comeback with another four-pointer, with Jamie Foster banging over two goals. And we could have won it too, with a last-ditch drop-goal attempt from Kyle Eastmond missing the target.
It is interesting that from his debut that day in the front row, only Jonny Lomax, and James Roby remain at St Helens RFC, although Paul Wellens is now Head Coach. The game at Leigh Leopards was Louie’s 450th career appearance and then the away game at Huddersfield was his 350th for St Helens.
Louie remains a key member of the squad with his tremendous enthusiasm and dedication on and off the field. Who would have thought in 2011 that he would go on to win four Grand Finals on the bounce, a Challenge Cup and a World Club title in 2023?
The lad from the Isle of Dogs can be duly proud of his achievements for his adopted club and town. Well done my son!