Mark Percival makes St Helens vow after stalwart awarded a testimonial

The Saints centre is one game shy of 200 for the club and can’t wait to be back to full fitness.

<p>Mark Percival of St Helens celebrates scoring their side’s fourth try in the Grand Final. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)</p>

Mark Percival of St Helens celebrates scoring their side’s fourth try in the Grand Final. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Centre Mark Percival, who looks set to complete his stellar career at St Helens, has been granted a testimonial in 2023 with his one and only Super League club.

The 28-year-old, who made his Super League debut against Leeds Rhinos in 2013, said: “St Helens has been my life ever since I joined the Academy when I was 14 years of age.

“The past nine years as a first team player have been a rollercoaster of a ride and it doesn’t get much better than winning four Grand Finals in a row and a Challenge Cup the year before. I am now looking forward to getting back fit and going again next season in what will be a proud year for me and my family in my Testimonial year.

“Thank you to the club and the RFL and I am excited about welcoming all the Saints’ fans to a pre-season trial game and a number of events in 2023.”

Chief executive Mike Rush said: “Mark has been a brilliant servant for our club and he thoroughly deserves his testimonial year.

“His performances on the field have been world class for a number of years. He is, in my opinion and many others, the best centre in Super League. Mark is an example of someone who has worked hard to overcome his injury troubles to shine year on year and ever since he came through our Academy system we knew he would go on to represent his country.

“Off the field, Mark is a fantastic ambassador for our club in the community and he regular supports and undertakes charity work and I am sure our fans will get behind him throughout 2023.”

Percival will have a benefit match in the new year and this along with the charities he has chosen to support will be announced in due course.

A son of nearby Widnes, Percival produced an impressive ‘bow’ against Leeds, even though on the losing side and went on to make a further 10 appearances for the Saints that year.

In 2014, he continued his development, playing 18 times and scoring 136 points and added another 114 points the year after.

Two years later ‘Percy’s form was good enough to see him selected for England and the Four Nations. That continued in 2017 with the centre being named in the Dream Team and representing England at the World Cup.

More international recognition was achieved in 2018, as well as his second appearance in the Dream Team, and followed that up in 2019 with another impressive season. He scored 12 tries in 26 appearances, including a try in the Grand Final success over Salford, while his defensive work was often commended throughout the campaign.

Percival was limited to just five appearances in 2020 as injury curtailed much of his season, but he was back to his best in 2021, being named in the Super League Dream Team for the third time as he helped Saints win three Super League Grand Finals and a first Challenge Cup for 13 years.

And last season he scored nine tries in 17 appearances, including another try in the Betfred Super League Grand Final as Saints completed an historic Four Peat.

In total, Percival is one appearance shy of 200 Saints games. He has also played six times for England, scoring two tries.