IF one player has really found his feet and nailed down his true position since the return from lockdown, it is Saints’ second row James Bentley.

The versatile former Bradford Bull has taken the his chance to secure the number 12 spot, keeping out the more experienced Dom Peyroux, with a string of doggedly energetic, aggressive and enthusiastic displays that has seen many a commentator compare him to the NRL packman John Bateman.

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The former Oulton Raiders junior signed from Bulls, with a nod from ex-Saint Leon Pryce, ahead of the 2018 season off the back of winning the 2017 Championship Young Player of the Year gong.

Although he made only three appearances in his first year in the red vee, he spent much of that campaign developing at Sheffield Eagles on dual reg.

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His versatility came in handy during last year’s Super League-winning season in which he featured 17 times, mostly off the bench, as well as making seven appearances on dual registration with Leigh Centurions.

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Bentley, who turns 24 later this month, impressed new coach Kristian Woolf immediately this year – and started the season at hooker in place of the then injured skipper James Roby.

And his versatility again came to the fore when he impressed at centre in the game against Sydney Roosters and was a big miss for the team when he suffered an injury the following week that ruled him out until the end of lockdown.

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Bentley has seized his opportunity well on return, and his try against Wigan on Tuesday was a just reward for his consistently combative displays in the second row.

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Woolf said: “I am really happy with what James Bentley is doing.

“He is doing a great job and plays the style that we respect at Saints – players like James and Morgan Knowles are really valued by us.

“They are valued for the hard work they put in every week.”

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Earlier this year he signed a contract extension to keep him at the club until the end of 2021. They will no doubt face competition, but Bentley is one of a number of quality young players who Saints will be keen to secure longer term.