It’s fair to say that Josh Jones didn’t anticipate being back in Rugby League so soon after originally switching codes at the end of 2015.
At the age of 22, Jones decided to call time on his St Helens career, opting for a chance to play in the 15-man code for Exeter Chiefs.
That, however, proved to be a very short stay, with the birth of Jones’ young daughter prompting an immediate return to his beloved Rugby League without missing a single round of action. However, Salford proved to be his destination for 2016 onwards, who travel to face Keiron Cunningham’s inconsistent side tonight.
Ahead of his first return to Langtree Park, the 23-year-old insists he would not swap what he has for a return to St Helens.
“Going to the same place with the same people over and over again, no matter how much you love them, it gets a bit, not boring, but I needed to freshen things up,” he told TotalRL.
“I was there ten years and I won the Grand Final when I was 21. I just needed a change up a little bit. I’d played about 100 games and I needed something new, a new challenge.
“It will be nice to go back there and see a few familiar faces. With it being away I’m a little bit more excited, I really can’t wait to go back there.”
Many expected Jones to reacquaint himself with Saints following his brief rugby union stint, but he decided to stay away for the same reasons he had left in the first place.
“I still needed that change,” he said.
“The main reason I was going to sign for Salford was because everyone at the club were friends. That’s what you need when you need to get through big games, that’s what it is like here. I told Sheensy (Tim Sheens) when I signed that we won the Grand Final at Saints because we were a bunch of mates, and it’s like that here.
“I think a big thing for us is ego, and I think a lot of the big egos have gone, now we’re just all a bunch of mates that want to play together. Sheensy and Watto (Ian Watson) have had a massive impact on that. They’ve signed some big names but nobody rowdy.”
Jones has seen first hand just how contrasting Saints can be on the field this year. While they have overcome the likes of Warrington, they have also been vulnerable to horror displays, with one coming against Jones’ Red Devils in the second week of the season.
“They’ve had a very up and down season,” he said. “It’s finding the right people because they’ve had a lot of injuries. They have Jonny Lomax back now and that brings stability to their squad and when they get other guys back they can have a good year. Both teams will be firing after last week but I think with what we have available we can go there and win.
“I wouldn’t say we’re any better or worse than Saints. I think we’re a top a four team. If you look at the players we have and what we’ve achieved, there’s no reason why we can’t be a top four team. Hopefully we can kick on, make the eight and then the play-offs.