Matty Foster among five new St Helens contracts as squad numbers revealed

MATTY FOSTER has received a new one-year contract at St Helens despite an injury that will likely rule him out of action for much of 2023.

The young forward has had terrible luck with injuries throughout his senior career, which have limited him to only one first-team appearance for Saints back in 2020.

Foster played six times for Leigh the following year but then suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury which required surgery.

He returned to the field for St Helens’ Reserves team in July but immediately injured the same knee again, putting him on course for another recovery period which could last almost a year.

The club said at the time that they would continue to support him throughout that recovery and have now committed to that in the shape of a new contract.

“Matty has been really unfortunate in the past few seasons,” said new Saints head coach Paul Wellens. 

“He’s picked up a fair few injuries that have really limited his playing time, but we have some of the best people here to get him through this. 

“He hasn’t folded once; he has come in every day with a smile on his face and worked really hard to get himself back on the field. 

“The resilience he’s shown during these tough times has strengthened his character and this will serve him well in the future.”

Like Foster, fellow youngsters Taylor Pemberton and Jumah Sambou have also signed new one-year deals with the club.

Both made first-team debuts this year at Easter and Wellens added: “Jumah and Taylor both played vital roles for us last season and, having developed through our Academy, they know what’s expected of them as Saints players and that is to display a consistent work ethic and commitment. 

“Having both made their first-team debuts last season, we expect them to work hard for further opportunities.”

Fellow Academy graduates McKenzie Buckley and Ben Lane have meanwhile signed their first professional deals.

Buckley, who debuted alongside Pemberton and Sambou against Castleford Tigers, has signed a one-year contract with the option of a further season while Lane, who played in Saints’ final two regular-season Super League games, has agreed a two-year deal.

Meanwhile, another Academy product has received a significant promotion in Saints’ squad numbers for 2023, as Jon Bennison takes over the number five shirt from departing Regan Grace.

The number 25 has not been allocated, with the club hinting at the possibility of a new signing.

St Helens’ 2023 squad: 1 Jack Welsby, 2 Tommy Makinson, 3 Will Hopoate, 4 Mark Percival, 5 Jon Bennison, 6 Jonny Lomax, 7 Lewis Dodd, 8 Alex Walmsley, 9 James Roby, 10 Matty Lees, 11 Sione Mata’utia, 12 Joe Batchelor, 13 Morgan Knowles, 14 Joey Lussick, 15 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 16 Curtis Sironen, 17 Agnatius Paasi, 18 Jack Wingfield, 19 James Bell, 20 Dan Norman, 21 Ben Davies, 22 Sam Royle, 23 Konrad Hurrell, 24 Lewis Baxter, 26 Dan Hill, 27 Jumah Sambou, 28 Matty Foster, 29 Taylor Pemberton, 30 George Delaney, 31 Daniel Moss, 32 Ben Lane, 33 McKenzie Buckley.