SAINTS have moved swiftly to fill Sean Long's position by appointing former Halifax boss Richard Marshall as assistant coach.

Marshall, who guided part-time Halifax to the qualifiers three times in four years in his spell there, has signed a deal that will take him until the end of the 2020.

He will start with immediate effect and will be on board with Justin Holbrook's fellow assistants Paul Wellens and Ian Talbot for Friday's home game with Huddersfield.

The 43-year-old, rated as one of the sport’s most promising coaches, was credited with blooding a host of young home-grown talent at the Shay after joining the club following a spell in Super League as Tony Smith's assistant at Warrington.

Marshall said he "jumped at the chance" when Saints came knocking to fill the void left by rugby union-bound Long.

Marshall said: "I had a number of options after I left Halifax, but I met Mike (Rush) and Justin (Holbrook) last week and when a club like St. Helens comes calling you jump at the chance.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to continue my development at a fantastic club and I cannot wait to get started."

Head coach Holbrook expects the new man to slot in seamlessly to the system - and won't be changing anything given the formula is working for the Super League leaders.

Holbrook said: “It’s great news for our club that Richard has decided to join us as assistant coach.

“He had a few offers and opportunities he could have taken up elsewhere, but he has chosen our club which is a great sign of the direction we are going as a club and it is great to have such an experienced coach join us.

“He has proven himself as a great assistant early in his career at Warrington and has obviously done a fantastic job at Halifax as Head Coach over the last four and a half years so I am looking forward to working with him.”

As a player, packman Marshall represented Ireland and played for Halifax RLFC, Huddersfield Giants, London Broncos and Leigh between 1995 and 2007.

Saints CEO Mike Rush praised the work ethic and ability of the new man.

“We all welcome Richard to the club with open arms. I have known him for over 15 years having seen him rise through the ranks at Warrington and more recently at Halifax.

“He absolutely fits the culture of the club.

"He is hard-working, driven and a talented individual who will bring further experience to our coaching staff,” Rush said.

Marshall will start his role at Saints with immediate effect and will be alongside Holbrook and fellow assistants Paul Wellens and Ian Talbot for the visit of Huddersfield Giants on Friday at the Totally Wicked Stadium.