AS expected, young Saints stars Jack Welsby and Lewis Dodd have been handed the iconic number one and seven jerseys respectively ahead of the 2022 Super League campaign.

Two-time Grand Final winner Welsby, who has filled a utility role since breaking in in 2018, takes the number 1 jersey vacated by the departed Lachlan Coote.

Scrum half Dodd takes on Theo Fages’ number 7 worn with such pride by half back luminaries Sean Long, Bobbie Goulding, Neil Holding, Jeff Heaton and Alex Murphy in the past.

Second row Joe Batchelor is rewarded for his fine displays in 2021, when he stepped up for James Bentley, by taking Joel Thompson's number 12 shirt ahead of NRL recruit Curtis Sironen.

St Helens Star:

The numbers of the squad can only give a strong hint of a likely pecking order – how that is matched up selection will begin to be determined from next week when the first batch of players return to training.

Although there are six new external recruits, it is a positive sign of a degree of continuity from the three-peat title winners that only one of those has a 1-13 jersey. That is Will Hopoate who replaces the departed Kevin Naiqama.

The big promotions and new recruits understandably catch the eye – but what underpins this 31-man squad is the role of the club’s Academy system.

No fewer than 17 members of the 2022 line-up have come through the junior ranks at Saints – from veteran James Roby to fellow hooker Taylor Pemberton who is half his age.

St Helens Star:

Saints squad: 1. Jack Welsby, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Will Hopoate, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Regan Grace, 6. Jonny Lomax, 7. Lewis Dodd, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Matty Lees, 11. Sione Mata'utia, 12. Joe Batchelor, 13. Morgan Knowles, 14. Joey Lussick, 15. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 16. Curtis Sironen, 17. Agnatius Paasi, 18. Kyle Amor, 19. Jake Wingfield, 20. James Bell, 21. Josh Simm, 22. Ben Davies, 23. Konrad Hurrell, 24. Dan Norman, 25. Matty Foster, 26. Sam Royle, 27. Jon Bennison, 28. Lewis Baxter, 29. Danny Hill, 30. Jumah Sambou, 31. Taylor Pemberton.