ST HELENS coach Kristian Woolf reckons keeping Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook on board for a further season is as important a bit of business as bringing his fellow forward Curtis Sironen in from the NRL.
While Manly Sea Eagles second rower Sironen, 28, will switch to Super League on a two-year deal with the options of a third, 35-year-old prop McCarthy-Scarsbrook is set for a twelfth season in Saints colours since moving from Harlequins (now London Broncos) after extending his contract to cover 2022.
It’s been a busy spell of squad-moulding for the Super League Champions, who are targeting a third straight Super League title this time around.
Having signed Canterbury Bulldogs’ Tonga international fullback Will Hopoate on a two-year deal, Saints then agreed contract extensions with long-serving skipper and hooker James Roby and backrower Joe Batchelor.
While they are also being linked with Widnes Vikings’ teenage fullback Danny Hill, Woolf was keener to talk about 300-plus appearance man McCarthy-Scarsbrook, explaining: “It’s a really important development.
“When we’ve been without guys for long periods of the season, our old heads like Louie have held us together and done a terrific job.
“He is obviously getting on a little bit, but he’s a terrific guy to have in the group.”
Sironen, the son of Balmain Tigers legend and former Australia international Paul Sironen, has been at Manly since 2017 after previously playing for Wests Tigers. He has represented City Origin.
“He is a big, athletic, edge backrower with a very good skill set,” said Woolf.
“Being a stand-off in his younger years, he has a real good passing and second phase game, so he has all the attacking attributes to make a real impact for us next season.
“He knows how to play tough and has very good defensive ability so he will improve us.”
Saints expect to be without stand-off Jonny Lomax for around four weeks.
The 30-year-old has already missed two matches since going off with a leg injury during the 42-12 home win over Leigh Centurions.
“Knowing Jonny, he could make it a little shorter, and he will definitely be back playing this year,” said Woolf.
Saints host Leeds Rhinos on Friday and visit Salford Red Devils seven days later ahead of the play-offs.
The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.