James Bell is ready to make the most of his second chance in Super League after swapping the basement dwellers for the champions.
Even the Kiwi second rower was surprised when St Helens coach Kristian Woolf came calling at the end of a tough season for the relegated Centurions.
Saints, who are chasing a fourth straight title, offered a two-year contract, which the 27-year-old Scotland international soon snapped up.
And Bell, who started his career at New Zealand Warriors but was limited to just two NRL appearances, can’t wait to get cracking.
He’s been handed shirt number 20, suggesting he faces a fight to become a first-team regular, but he’s ready to put in the hard yards.
“I want to play my part in the future of the club and, while I know it will be tough, my focus will be totally fixed on making the first 13,” he said.
Bell, who played 18 times for Leigh this year after spending the previous two seasons at Toulouse, continued: “I’ll be working hard in training.
“This club’s past success is mind-blowing and I want to be part of it all, so I have to lay the right foundations.”
Young stars Jack Welsby and Lewis Dodd will be wearing numbers one and seven respectively in 2022.
Welsby, 20, the hero of the 2020 Grand Final defeat of Wigan, replaces Hull KR recruit Lachlan Coote after having number 18 this year.
His fellow Academy product Dodd, 19, who is set to form a halfback partnership with Jonny Lomax, moves from 21 to the number previously held by Theo Fages, who has joined Huddersfield.
Sione Mata’utia takes eleven and Joe Batchelor, who enjoyed a strong 2021 campaign, twelve.
New signings Will Hopoate and Joey Lussick will wear three and 14 respectively, with Curtis Sironen taking 16, James Bell 20 and Konrad Hurrell 23, the number previously worn by other overseas stars Ben Barba and Coote.
St Helens 2022 squad numbers: 1 Jack Welsby (last season Lachlan Coote), 2 Tommy Makinson, 3 Will Hopoate (Kevin Naiqama), 4 Mark Percival, 5 Regan Grace, 6 Jonny Lomax, 7 Lewis Dodd (Theo Fages), 8 Alex Walmsley, 9 James Roby, 10 Matty Lees, 11 Sione Mata’utia (Joel Thompson), 12 Joe Batchelor (James Bentley), 13 Morgan Knowles, 14 Joey Lussick (Sione Mata’utia), 15 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 16 Curtis Sironen (Kyle Amor), 17 Agnatius Paasi, 18 Kyle Amor (Jack Welsby), 19 Jake Wingfield (Aaron Smith), 20 James Bell (Joe Batchelor), 21 Josh Simm (Lewis Dodd), 22 Ben Davies (Josh Simm), 23 Konrad Hurrell (Jake Wingfield), 24 Dan Norman (Josh Eaves), 25 Matty Foster (Dan Norman), 26 Sam Royle (Tom Nisbet), 27 Jonathan Bennison (Matty Foster), 28 Lewis Baxter (Nico Rizzelli), 29 Danny Hill (Ben Davies), 30 Jumah Samou (Sam Royle), 31 Taylor Pemberton (Jonathan Bennison)
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