James Bell believes there is plenty more still to come from his own game and that he is in the perfect place to reach his full potential at St Helens.
The loose-forward is one of five new Saints signings, having made the move after one season at Leigh.
Bell, 27, impressed despite featuring for Super League’s bottom side last term, and was rewarded with a switch to the right end of the table with the champions of the past three seasons.
He admits now that the interest of St Helens came as “a little bit of a surprise”. But he is determined to make the most of the chance that has come his way.
“I feel like I haven’t reached my potential yet as a footy player,” said Bell, who has also played for New Zealand Warriors and Toulouse Olympique.
“If there’s any time in my career where I’m going to reach it, it’s going to be at St Helens and it’s going to be now.
“I guess it’s exciting times for me, but also the time to be putting in hard work as well.
“They’re a really good bunch, there’s a lot of experience so I’m looking forward to learning from a lot of the experienced forwards, and from working with some of the talented outside backs.
“I think everyone there can offer me something in terms of development and my game.”
Bell says that he is especially keen to improve on his defence, having joined by far the stingiest team in Super League last season.
“The things to work on for me are probably the wrestle, being a little bit more technical, and probably a couple of effort-based areas,” he said.
“It’s mainly my D, just a little bit of technique in terms of my wrestle. I guess I’m in the environment to really practise my wrestle so I’m in good hands there.”
“Now that I’m a part of the team (I see that) they base a lot of their work on effort.
“I think that just separates them, their effort in defence and attack. That’s one thing that I’ve noticed.”
Of course, joining the best club in the land provides an opportunity but also a challenge to break into a squad that has just won the double of Super League and Challenge Cup.
“Obviously they’ve had a lot of success over the last few years and there are some really talented players here, so I’ve got to work hard on my fitness and my whole game in general, to give myself the best opportunity to get in that 17,” said Bell.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but I’m excited for the challenge.”
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