YOUNG Saints forward Matty Foster has reached some strength and fitness milestones on his long road to recovery from the ACL injury he that ended a tough 2021.

The 20-year-old second-row forward had been singled out as one to watch by coach Kristian Woolf ahead of last year – but his season got off to an awful start when he suffered a fractured jaw when playing on dual reg with Leigh on the opening night of Super League.

Having gamely battled back from that, the former Blackbrook junior and England Under 16 international saw his season ended while playing for Leigh at Magic – sustaining a devastating Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury which required surgery.

It is a long way back for the youngster, who signed a 12-month contract extension last year, and continues to recover.

Coach Woolf paid tribute to Foster’s diligence that has put him ahead of where he would have expected to have been following surgery.

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Woolf said: “Matty has gone great. He is a really good young man who has shown real diligence and who is working extremely hard.

“We have no doubt that he has had some dark times when you think about the injuries he has had this last 12-18 months.

“He has spent a long time in that recovery room training by himself and having to work very closely with the physios and trainers there.

“He has done that exceptionally well and with a smile on his face. Even if he is finding a bit tough he has not shown that.

“He has put himself in a position where he is well ahead of where he would be expected to be at this time.”

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Having endured such an horrendous run of bad luck, Woolf was keen to make sure Foster is fully fit and ready when he does pull on the boots the next time out.

But he has detected some positive signs from the packman, whose one appearance in the red vee came at Salford in 2020.

“We are obviously going to be smart and make sure he is not rushed back and put at risk, when you look at the bad luck he has had we are not going to risk him having more time off the field.

“He will be given every bit of time to be right to play and we have no doubt that he will come back and play really well.

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“He has had a couple of little milestones in there with his recovery in how he is running and what he is lifting, with a little bit of extra size and strength.

“He has reached those and some – and that has come off his diligence and hard work and that is a credit to him,” Woolf said.