Nathan Okell provides a fan view on the confirmation that Saints back-rower Dominique Peyroux will be staying at the Totally Wicked Stadium for at least one more year

WHEN Justin Holbrook confirmed this week that Dominique Peyroux would be continuing his Saints career next season, it got me thinking about the player he is now compared to the one that first arrived on these shores.

A couple of seasons ago, Peyroux was failing to live up to the fans' expectations of an oversees signing. However, now it is fair to say that the majority will be pleased to get this deal over the line.

Peyroux looks a completely different player than the one signed under the Keiron Cunningham regime, and has become an integral part of Justin Holbrook’s back row.

In his best campaign to date, Peyroux has more than doubled the tackles he completed in his first season and gained more than 500 extra metres in roughly the same amount of games.

Had he not broken his arm in the recent win against Warrington Wolves, it would have been interesting to see how high these stats would rise.

Despite this, the fact that Peyroux continued to play through the discomfort of a broken arm three weeks ago shows his commitment to the side and his determination to nail down a starting berth ahead of the likes of Morgan Knowles, Jon Wilkin, and, from next season, Joseph Paulo.

Although not one of the flashiest players on the team with one handed, out-of-the-back-door offloads, the New Zealand-born forward possesses a formidable side-step, which has helped him over the try line four times this season – his joint-highest tally during his time at Saints.

It has been clear to many that Peyroux’s absence through injury has left a big gap to fill, with Saints' right edge not being as destructive of late with both him and Ryan Morgan absent.

His combination with Morgan and Tommy Makinson has contributed 23 tries this year - a potent threat which Saints will miss during the run up to a potential Grand Final appearance.

Holbrook himself has admitted his presence will be missed in the next few weeks, stating: “Dom has been fantastic all year and hadn’t missed a game all season up to his injury.

“He’s one of those blokes who works hard every week, alongside Ryan Morgan, and he has an impact on the edge, and then suddenly, they’re not playing, and you find out how much you miss them."

Saints will be hoping to get Peyroux back on the field sooner rather than later during the business end of the season if they are to give themselves their best chance of securing their first Grand Final triumph since 2014.