SAINTS boss Kristian Woolf is still weighing up how he will use big man Agnatius Paasi.

The former New Zealand Warriors front rower brings additional size to the pack - but his arrival is not the only thing giving Woolf food for thought.

The Saints boss reports that England Knights front rower Matty Lees has come back in fit, strong, three kilos heavier and ready to make a real fist of running in tandem with Alex Walmsley in the heat of the opening exchanges.

With five weeks to go before the season starts, Saints have plenty of time to work out and trial their best formulation - but it is a nice headache to have.

Woolf said: “We are still working it out and we have got to get a trial under our belt and get into some more opposed footy and work out where everyone fits, and how we function best as a 17.

“It is no longer about a starting 13, the guys who come off the bench are just as important and make just as big an impact – and that is certainly the case in the middle.

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“That is something we have to figure out – whether we start both (Walmsley and Paasi) together or mixing it up with one of the bench will have to be considered.

Woolf has been impressed with Paasi’s contribution at training so far - something that augurs well for the year ahead.

“Agnatius is coming into his prime as a front rower.

“He is someone who started in the NRL a little bit later, but if you go back to 2018-19, when he was the cornerstone of the New Zealand Warriors pack, that is the type of form we intend on getting him up to and that is the fitness he has come in at.

“I am confident that he is going to do that.”

But a slightly more bulked-up Lees will add to the mix - particularly after he has now got last year’s tough post-surgery year out of the way.

Woolf explained that Lees’ continued progress will have an influence on how Saints pack down.

“I have been really impressed with the way he has come back.

“He has come back fit and three kilos heavier.

“With that he is stronger and has not lost anything in terms of fitness, speed or his ability to move.

“He is putting his hand to say that he wants to be a starter and wants to continue to improve.

“That is a great position to be in because it means blokes are competing for a spot and we are going to get the best out of them when that is the case.

“He has worked hard at it – and you have to remember when I arrived last year I was surprised how lean and light he was for a front rower.

“There were obvious reasons for that because he had come in off a difficult and very bad injury to overcome.”

Impressive on the England Knights tour in 2018, Lees was Super League’s Young Player of the Year in 2019 by suffered an horrendous perforated bowel injury in the game at Leeds in August 2019 - ruling him out of Wembley and that year’s Old Trafford showpiece.

He returned last year - and finally got his Grand Final appearance and ring.

“He has done a terrific job to get himself back on the field from that type of injury and play with the confidence he did last year,” Woolf said.

“And he has done great job in the off season and the start of the pre-season to build on last year again.

“I expect him to continue his development and continue improving.

“He is at the right age where he is going to get better every year, particularly as a front rower.”