Super League 2024: St Helens preview, players to watch and predicted finish

Rugby League World says

A new era is about to begin at St Helens – an era that doesn’t include James Roby.

The talismanic hooker has hung up his boots after 20 seasons and 551 appearances for the club. There is no doubt he will be missed, but this is St Helens we’re talking about. We have seen time and time again, iconic players retire but the youth system just produces another star of the future. While the next generation of number nines is being nurtured they will be learning from Daryl Clark, who will play a pivotal role for his new club.

After four straight Super League titles, it will no doubt have hurt that they failed to even make it to Old Trafford last season, let alone to have the Champions tag taken by their fiercest rivals. 

Coach Paul Wellens will be keen to put that right this season, and having such a settled squad picking up from where they left off last season could be key in doing that.

Three to watch

Daryl Clark is one of only three additions to a St Helens squad which has changed little over the past two years. But in replacing a true great of the game in James Roby, Clark represents a huge change. The ex-Warrington man isn’t expected to be Roby, but he will look to make an impact of his own at hooker.

George Delaney burst onto the scene brilliantly in 2023, initially covering for injuries but soon making his own mark and playing 20 times. The prop doesn’t take a backward step, and while he will have only just turned 20 when the new season begins, he will be confident of establishing himself in the Saints team.

Jack Welsby’s new four-year deal was a hugely significant piece of business for Super League, never mind St Helens, even if it surely won’t end NRL interest. The fullback, an England captain post-season, is one of the competition’s biggest stars and could be set for a greater profile off the field as he continues to excel on it.

Did you know?

St Helens, it’s hard to believe, were once the second-best team in town! The rival St Helens Recreation, originally a glass works team, played professionally from 1919-20 until 1938-39, and twelve times finished the higher of the two. They became the current amateur side Pilkington Recs. 


1 Jack Welsby, 2 Tommy Makinson, 3 Waqa Blake, 4 Mark Percival, 5 Jon Bennison, 6 Jonny Lomax, 7 Lewis Dodd, 8 Alex Walmsley, 9 Daryl Clark, 10 Matty Lees, 11 Sione Mata’utia, 12 Joe Batchelor, 13 Morgan Knowles, 14 Moses Mbye, 15 James Bell, 16 Curtis Sironen, 17 Agnatius Paasi, 18 Jake Wingfield, 20 George Delaney, 21 Ben Davies, 22 Sam Royle, 23 Konrad Hurrell, 24 Jake Burns, 25 Tee Ritson, 26 Ben Lane, 27 McKenzie Buckley, 28 Dayon Sambou, 29 Will Roberts, 30 Jonny Vaughan, 31 Noah Stephens, 32 Leon Cowan.

Potential milestones

Morgan Knowles needs 20 appearances for 200 in Super League…
Jonny Lomax needs 24 appearances for 350 for the club… 
Tommy Makinson needs 7 tries for 200 for the club…
Mark Percival needs 24 points for 1,000 in Super League 

RLW predicts: 2nd

First published in Rugby League World magazine, Issue 492 (January 2024)

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