TOMMY Makinson grabbed his chances with both hands when injuries struck down experienced wing Ade Gardner during the past two seasons.
A crowd-pleasing young talent, the 21-year-old Wiganer’s pace, panache for touching down in the tightest of corners and accuracy with the boot has been rewarded with a new deal that will keep him at Langtree Park until the end of 2016.
With Francis Meli holding down the left wing berth, the quick-learning Makinson will be battling out with the long serving Gardner for a starting spot on the right.
And already it has given coach Nathan Brown a first major selection headache, with Gardner notching two tries on Sunday to give the new boss a nudge.
Brown said: “Ade is a good experienced player and he and Tommy are fighting for a spot there.
“Ade had the injury last year and Tommy came in and did a great job.
“Ade has done a great job for years so from a coaching point of view I am happy to have either playing, and the players like playing with them both too so that is a tough decision that one.
“It is good healthy competition and re-assuring that if one wing is not fit you have another good player to put in. That competition only makes the squad stronger.”
Makinson, who has a return of 25 tries and 54 goals in 46 appearances for Saints since making his debut at Salford in February 2011, injects plenty of pace into the backline whether operationg from the flanks or full back.
Brown added: “Tommy is a promising young player who has worked hard and taken his opportunities when they have come along.
“He is a consistent performer in training and understands the dedication that is needed to become not only a member of the first team at Saints but a rugby league professional.
“If he continues to work hard then he has a very promising future in the game.”
It is an opportunity Makinson relishes.
“I’m over the moon to have signed this contract and I’m looking forward to continuing my career and development at Saints.
“I know I still have a lot to learn; I believe I am at the right place to do that and I am excited about the future,” he said.