SAINTS wing Tommy Makinson bounces into the new Super League season invigorated by his autumn exploits on the international stage.

A well-taken hat-trick in the Kiwi test at Anfield propelled the 27-year-old towards the Golden Boot award and put him on the radar for the NRL.

But he spurned those advances to sign a new four-year deal which will keep him at Saints until the end of 2022.

That done, he now turns his attention to continuing that stellar 2018 into the new campaign - and it is one he is relishing, not least his new partnership on the right edge with Fiji skipper Kevin Naiqama.

We saw an early taste of that in the recent testimonial match against Hull FC, which saw Makinson cash in on some good, early ball to nip in for a smartly-taken brace of touchdowns.

Makinson said: “It was something different for me at Saints. I don’t see as much ball as the left.

“But I hope the rest of the season is like it was in that friendly.

“I do not mean that in a selfish way, but I just want to get more involved in the team.

“Kev will be a great signing for us. And it is a dream for me having a centre who finds me with early ball where I can do what I can do best because I class myself as a good finisher.

“It is something I have always enjoyed doing.

“I said to Kev when he arrived, ‘just give us a pass or two and we will get on’.”

St Helens Star:

Saints’ back three will have to come terms with a new voice marshalling them in defence and chiming in on attack after the departure of Ben Barba. But Makinson believes former North Queensland Cowboys Grand Finalist Lachlan Coote will stamp his own mark on the Saints style.

“Lachlan is a smart fella who knows his way around the field. He is so smart and so quick in his mind and does different things to some other players.

“He has vision, a kicking game and if you pair that with the halves we have got at the club it is going to be a hell of a season,” he said.

Saints were overall the most consistent team in 2018, leading from the front to win the League Leaders Shield, but losing both major semis.

That has created a real hunger in the ranks

“When you put on a St Helens shirt losing in semis is not good enough. There was questions asked of us after losing two. We know we have to improve. We want to be in finals and bringing silverware back here,” he said.

Saints fell short in both semi-finals last year after leading from the front from week one.

Makinson is determined to help get the side to the Theatre of Dreams this year, and believes the team is well equipped to do that due to a combination of recruitment and experience gained the hard way last year.

"For me there is no better feeling than being under the lights at Old Trafford, 55 minutes after the hooter, looking up at 30,000 Saints fans. That is what my rugby league career dream is about.

"Holding up that trophy in front of those supporters.

"Everyone can contribute to that – new players, the younger lads, people like me in the middle of their careers, we all have more experience.

"We can only improve. I listen to Robes and he says every extra year helps.

"We have had a great pre-season – we are looking good and I am excited," he said.