St.Helens R.F.C. is thrilled to announce that Noah Stephens has become the latest Saints Academy graduate having signed his first professional contract with the Club after impressing for our Under 18’s side!
A towering and powerful prop forward, Stephens has put pen to paper on a two-year deal with a further third-year option in favour of the Club.
The 18-year-old has come through our ranks after joining the Saints’ Scholarship programme at age 15 from amateur club Pilkington Recs ARLFC and has gone on to make 21 appearances for our Academy 2022-2023, and scored six tries in the process.
Noah’s bursting breaks and bulldozing runs have clearly caught the eye, and he will now become a full-time player with the Saints – joining the likes of fellow Academy graduates; Matty Lees, Morgan Knowles, and George Delaney in the forwards pack.
Speaking to saintsrlfc.com, a delighted Noah Stephens said: “I’m feeling really good about it, it’s a big step up from Academy but the next step in my career, and I’m lucky enough to have had the opportunity to be where I am with Saints.
“If it wasn’t for Derek (Traynor), Killer (Neil Kilshaw), and all the coaching staff, I wouldn’t be playing rugby, everyone’s had a massive impact on me both physically as a player and mentally on how you view the game and how to respond to challenges you face. How we overcome things and we view the game in a positive way.”
With the likes of Alex Walmsley, Matty Lees, and Morgan Knowles as his teammates in the First Team environment, Stephens is excited and keen to keep developing his game, with the likes of Walmsley already making him feel comfortable in training.
“I’ve not been in training for that long, but Al (Walmsley) already has been open and he’s always onto me first, or seeing how I am with stuff and how I’m finding it, or checking the progress I’m making. He’s also pulling little pranks on me, but stuff like that it sounds silly, but it brings you together as a team. I’m looking forward to learning from everyone though.”
With a man who knows all about what it means to be a St.Helens player, Paul Wellens, as his coach going forward, Noah is excited to be stepping into the full-time regime.
“He has so much experience and he’s been with Saints the whole way as a player and now as a coach, so the advice and knowledge he can give, it will be great to have him as my Head Coach.”
Commenting on the news of Stephens stepping up into the First Team squad from 2024, Head Coach Paul Wellens said: “Noah has been really good in the Academy under Derek Traynor and he’s someone we will continue to develop as a player. We’ve given him numerous opportunities to come in and train with the First Team and when he has, he’s done so with real professionalism and a willingness to learn and work hard.
“It’s going to be great to have him around more permanently because there are a lot of raw ingredients and potential to kick on and be a very good player. Being around Morgan Knowles, Matty Lees, and Alex Walmsley will be really important for his development.”
Wellens paid further credit to the youth staff at St.Helens for the continued development of a home-grown talent stepping up to continue his progress in an elite setting.
“We as a Club continue to work hard in that area, but I would say to any young player who makes the step up that Noah is; you’ve not made it, the hard work starts now. The work level goes up, and the demands of the job are a lot more difficult, he’s had a taste of that and knows what it looks like and I’m certain he’s looking forward to the challenge.”