AS years go, 2019 has been a pretty special one so far for Jonny Lomax and his family.

He is enjoying his testimonial, playing some of the finest rugby league career, developing into a leader and, a few weeks ago, became a dad for the first time.

On Saturday, he hopes to take it up another notch by lifting the Challenge Cup final at Wembley – with three-week old son Finn watching from the stands.

Speaking at Salford’s Media City, where the Challenge Cup media event took place on Monday, Lomax, 29, beams when asked about fatherhood, while speaking confidently and and articulately about his game and Saints’ chances at Wembley.

He said: “It’s been an exciting time that’s for sure. Fatherhood is great and obviously my missus (Megan) has been fantastic. The little one is great – it is fantastic really...and I’m getting a reasonable amount of sleep.

“The little fella will come to this one, his first game. It’s a dream to get there and a lot of hard work has gone into it, he’ll be there with Megan and all the family.”

While Warrington’s Blake Austin has won the plaudits of many observers and leads the newly designed Man of Steel ranking system, Lomax’s form has perhaps been unheralded by some.

Not by everyone, it has to be said, particularly Saints supporters. And writing in last week’s Star, the legendary Saints player Paul Sculthorpe hailed Lomax as the British game’s outstanding performer.

And there are those long-serving staff at Saints headquarters who have witnessed the Billinge lad, who was identified as a genuine star of the future as teen, mature into the player they always believed he would become.

Lomax does not consider his form has surged on from last season but believes a sustained period of fitness following the serious knee injuries that disrupted his career during his early 20s has helped.

“I’m probably performing very similar to last year. With Benny (Barba) playing so well last year that gets recognised and people are drawn, sometimes to the bells and whistles.

“But that’s where Justin has been so great for us, he has instilled a lot of honesty back into the side and all the hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. He instils that into us.

“For myself just being fit for a prolonged period, has helped me build on that consistency of performance and the more games you play the more robust you become and your confidence grows.

“That adversity (of the injuries) does drive towards occasions like this, it makes you hungrier.”