ZEB Taia has been hailed as the "ultimate professional" after it was confirmed he will leave Saints at the end of the 2020 season to return home to Australia.

Taia, who will be 36 in October, joined the cub in 2017 from the Gold Coast Titans and was a key part of last season's Grand Final winning team.

He made 95 appearances so far for the Saints, scoring 21 tries, and proved to be an important attacking weapon, who targets gaps in the channels.

St Helens Star: Zeb Taia. Picture: Bernard Platt

It’s the right time for me and my family to head back home to Australia

After four seasons in England, the second rower has decided to head home.

In a statement, he said: “Firstly I want to thank Eammon (McManus), Mike Rush and ‘Kez’ (Keiron Cunningham) who all played a part in giving me the chance to take up the opportunity to join this great club back in 2017.

“I also want to pay thanks to Justin Holbrook for the way he changed me as a player and moulded me into the player I needed to be for this club.

“A massive thank you to Kristian Woolf who has been great with me since he came in, plus my team-mates, coaching staff and medical staff over the past years.

“Winning the Super League title last season is definitely one of my career highlights and I wish the club all the success in the future.

“Good things however, always come to an end and it’s the right time for me and my family to head back home to Australia at the end of the season and prepare for the next chapter of our lives.

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“I finally want to thank you, the fans, who have shown love to me and my family. I’m definitely going to miss this place and hopefully I’ve left my mark on it. 

“I want to wish the club all the best in the years ahead, but my job is not over yet as I’m keen to get back to winning more trophies this season and I can’t wait to see you all once we are back up and running.”

St Helens Star: Zeb Taia in action. Picture: Bernard Platt

Taia has proved a strong attack threat down the left channel

Head Coach Kristian Woolf added: “Zeb has been the ultimate professional since I joined the Club.

“He is a great person and has had a fantastic career both in the NRL and at Saints.

"We will miss him and we wish him and his family well in his next chapter.

“But before then, he still has unfinished business here at the club and I look forward to continue working with him once we hopefully resume the season.”