SAINTS boss Kristian Woolf says the future is bright for the back-to-back Super League champions.

And he bases that on the number of young players on the fringes of the first team, who are expected to kick on from their experiences in this year’s title-winning season.

The squad will look different next year – of the Grand Finalists James Graham and Zeb Taia have hung up their boots, while Dom Peyroux will join Joseph Paulo in Toulouse.

Meanwhile 2019 Grand Finalist Jack Ashworth, who had limited opportunities this year, is joining Huddersfield Giants.

St Helens Star:

In their places Saints have brought in big prop Agnatius Paasi to run in tandem with Alex Walmsley in the front row.

In the second row Joel Thompson brings toughness and experience, while NRL packman Sione Mata’utia heads to Super League in his prime.

But those signings complement the crop of promising young players, including some who have made debuts this year.

And some of those will not only be keeping the current incumbents on their toes but grabbing opportunities when they arise.

St Helens Star:

Woolf said: "I am really confident in what we can do for the future. We have the majority of the squad coming back.

“There are a number of young blokes, who have played some games this year and Jack Welsby is one example, but there are guys like Lewis Dodd, Josh Simm, Jake Wingfield and Joe Batchelor waiting in the wings who are going to get better and better and are ready to come into the team at different times and develop like James Bentley."

“The future is good, but the thing we need to do at the moment is enjoy the Grand Final win.”

St Helens Star:

After a tough campaign, that has not been short of its occasional wobble and disappointment, Saints peaked at the right time to win back-to-back titles for the first time since 2000.

Woolf’s biggest challenge in inheriting a team of champions was to keep them going forward, not allowing them to rest on their laurels, in the face of additional competition.

“It was a very different challenge coming in because I was not coming into something that was broken, I was coming into something that had to keep on advancing,” he said.

“That is what we have done this year and we have had to because the competition has got better – that is not taking anything away from last year, but you have to evolve and get better.

St Helens Star:

“That was the challenge for me and the group and I can’t sing the praises of the group enough on how hard they want to work and overcome things together and compete.

“Winning back-to-back is a great achievement.

“This is my first year of being a part of it, but I have seen what a good group they are and how hard working they are and how honest.

“That honesty, hard work and discipline is what got them the Grand Final win.”