Jon Bennison keen for more active role with St Helens amid fierce competition

JON BENNISON hopes to spend less time “stewing away” in the stands and make this the season he cements a first-team spot at St Helens.

The 21-year-old debuted in 2021 but enjoyed his real Super League breakthrough the following year, playing 18 times and scoring key tries in both the play-off semi-final and Grand Final.

Promoted to the number-five jersey, he played a further 20 games last season, including both of Saints’ play-off games, but was denied further appearances by competition from Tee Ritson and Will Hopoate.

Hopoate has since retired, replaced by former Parramatta back Waqa Blake, while Ritson has joined permanently from Barrow after last season’s loan.

It means Bennison has to work hard to secure a place in the team for their Super League opener at home to London this month.

He told League Express: “It definitely could have been better (last year). There was a period of the season where I was sitting in the stands, stewing away, which wasn’t too good. 

“You’ve got to bide your time. It’s the same with Tee, we swapped around a few times last season. 

“It’s about being patient, working hard and taking your opportunity with two hands when it comes. If that comes in round one for me, that’s great. That’s definitely what I’m aiming for.

“All in all I think I improved as a player from the season before, which is the main thing. There is still lots of improvement (to make).

“Hopefully I can nail down a spot for the majority of the season.”

Bennison acknowledges his game time will likely continue to come on the wing, even though fullback is his main trade.

“I’m not going to oust England fullback Jack Welsby! I don’t intend to do that,” he grinned.

“Being in such a talented team, the best thing for me is just getting in the team anywhere I can really. 

“It was good to play fullback (in Saints’ first pre-season game against Swinton) because I’ve got to still work on that side of my game, and if the opportunity does come in that role I’ll be ready to take it.”