LACHLAN COOTE says he has yet to make on a decision on whether he will stay at St Helens next year or move on.
The fullback is off-contract at the end of 2021 with his three-year deal coming to an end. Coote joined the club from North Queensland at the end of 2018.
He says he has loved his time at Saints but travel restrictions around Covid-19, and being able to visit family in Australia, will be a major factor determining what he decides.
“We’re still not sure yet,” Coote admits.
“It’s been awesome so far, I really love being around the boys and enjoy the staff and everything at the club; I love everything about it. But it’s obviously just the off-field issues that have been tough at the moment with Covid and not being able to see my family for the past two years.
“There are so many things to weigh up and we’re not rushing into anything; we’re just playing it by ear. The club has been great with that as well, they’ve been very supportive, they’re not putting any pressure on us.
“So we’re just weighing up our options, considering the pros and cons. My wife has done it really tough. It’s easy for us to go training every day and see our mates, but when the kids and the wife are sitting at home doing nothing, it really takes its toll.
“That’s probably been the hardest thing. But the footy side of things has been awesome, so we’ll see what happens.”
Coote, who turned 31 last year, has already won two Grand Finals, a League Leaders’ Shield and has reached a Challenge Cup final in his first two years with St Helens.
And he feels he still has plenty of games left in his career and is not yet ready to retire.
“I’ve had a lot of success by just being a part of the club and the culture; the culture here is very addictive,” he says.
“And if I were to leave it would be very hard to walk away from it.”
St Helens now have a Challenge Cup semi-final against Hull FC to look forward to after Friday’s bruising quarter-final win over Huddersfield when Saints were pushed hard by an improving Giants side.
“It was a tough game, the Giants are always good defensively,” adds Coote.
“We always seem to have really solid games against them; it’s always the theme. But I was just happy to get the win and to make it through. We fell in the quarter-finals last year against Warrington, so it was pretty good to get through and it’s exciting to be only one game from Wembley now.”
The Scotland international has never won a Challenge Cup, having been in the team that lost to Warrington in 2019, and lifting the trophy at Wembley remains a strong ambition.
“Saints have been looking for a Challenge Cup since 2008, so hopefully this is the year,” he adds.
“All the fans are desperate for one. It would be nice to get one myself before I head back to Oz, whenever that might be.”