Five key Saint Helens players fans should be excited about in 2024 - including Scouser Noah Stephens
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With the start of the Rugby League season less than a month away, the Saints will be looking for some players to make an impact.
Here are five key players to keep an eye on as the 2024 Super League season draws closer.
After spending part of the 2023 season on loan at the Swinton Lions, playing six games, Delaney returned to the Saints and made 17 appearances.
Many people believe he has already established himself as the one of the starting players on the front line, with Paul Wellens stating that he only gives opportunities to those who deserves them - including Delaney.
Despite being only nineteen-years-old, he has already shown he knows what steps can to be taken to earn a first team spot, going out on loan and showing people what you can do. His consistency on and off the field has shown the type of player he is and his ability to fight through tackles to get to the try line is something to look out for on the front line.
Jack Welsby is a fan favourite and received the recognition he deserves during the off season, becoming England’s youngest ever captain with England coming out victorious in all three games.
2023 was another brilliant year for Welsby, as he was named the Saints player of the year for the second time in three years, with 12 tries and 28 assists. He also won the try of the season in the Club World Cup final against the Penrith Panthers, with England shocking many by winning 12-13 in enemy territory.
Despite rumours of a move to the NRL in Australia, Welsby signed a new contract keeping him at the Saint Helens until 2027, where he will no doubt be hoping to win many more titles in the future.
Clarke is one of the latest signings the Saints have made during the off season. He comes in replacing the now-retired captain, James Roby. Clarke arrives from Warrington Wolves, a team who started off the last season winning their first eight games, but only managed to win six more games, before being eliminated by the Saints in the first round of the play-offs.
The Saints have already put a lot of faith in Clarke, becoming only the third player to receive the prestigious number 9 shirt in 30 years. His position is a hooker and he is known for his quick runs from Dummy Half as well as his toughness. In 2023 he appeared in 27 games, scoring four tries.
A born and bred Scouser, Stephens was one of five academy graduates to make the leap to the first-team in recent months. Stephens is coming off a victory in the academy league final and the nineteen-year-old was held in high regard by academy manager Derek Traynor after joining the scholarship team at the age of fiteen.
The first player to be announced to be receiving a contract from the Saints, his size and quick speed should have fans extremely excited. A front row of George Delaney and Stephens is something the Saints should be excited for, whether it be this season or next, the future is bright.
Whitley is another of the Saints' recent additions, playing on the back row and coming in with a lot of experience. He joins the side following a heartbreaking end in the 2023 season after a 10-2 defeat to the Wigan Warriors in the Super League final.
Whitley will be proud when he makes his debut for Saint Helens, having grown up a Saints supporter and having made over 167 Super League appearances. After losing two Super League finals, it is hoped that winning one with his boyhood club will be more than enough motivation for him.