JONNY Lomax’s new deal will take the England international’s affiliation with his hometown club to nearly a quarter of a century.

The former Orrell St James junior joined the Saints scholarship as an 11-year-old has – and although he has had his ups and downs in the red vee since making his debut under Mick Potter in 2009, the rewards he has reaped in recent years are a testament to his resilience as much as his class.

Lomax has found a rich vein of form since his return from the two devastating ACL injuries that struck in 2014 and then 2015.

Injuries as bad as those could have sunk many a player, but who could forget his defiant two-try display on his comeback, roughly this time five years ago in the game against Leeds?

A consistent, committed, diligent and intelligent footballer Lomax has seamlessly coped with his career switches from seven to one and then back to six to emerge as one of the Super League’s top players.

Successive England coaches have agreed – all finding him a position at international level.

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The Billinger has won two Grand Finals as well as being named in two Super League Dream teams.

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To illustrate his prowess, Lomax was top of the try assists last season – and a key component of the club’s continuing successes.

It has been quite a journey for Lomax.

Then coach Mick Potter saw enough in the teenage Lomax to hand him a debut against Wakefield back in 2009 and the following year was dipped in and out in numerous positions before being pitched in for the 2010 Grand Final against Wigan ahead of the vastly experienced Ade Gardner.

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The following year, the departure of scrum half Kyle Eastmond to rugby union created a vacancy at 7 which Lomax grabbed with both hands during that year on the road at Widnes.

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Alongside Lee Gaskell, the young partnership dubbed Lomaskell took the lead in 2011 in the absence of Leon Pryce and Eastmond.

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And that side went all the way to the 2011 Grand Final – before key injuries midway through the second half saw that crown slip away to Leeds.

Despite being top of the assists as a scrum half in 2012, Nathan Brown switched Lomax to full back in 2013 – a position he immediately established himself in despite Paul Wellens still being at the club.

Alas, Lomax suffered an horrendous couple of years when 2014 and 2015 were scuppered by his knee injuries.

The 2016 return in that emotional home game against Leeds marked a real comeback – and he found form to get capped four times for England that year.

2017 may have been a period of upheaval with a change of coach from Keiron Cunningham to Justin Holbrook – but also the arrival of Ben Barba.

It once again meant another positional change for Lomax – which he coped with, even slotting in at centre at one stage at the end of the campaign.

His late matchwinner against Wakefield, was nevertheless critical in ensuring Saints qualified for the play-offs that term. 

He earned a place in England’s Rugby League World Cup team in Australia – one which was an ankle tap away from winning the prize for the first time since 1972.

But it all worked out by 2018, and Lomax was switched to stand-off as Saints ripped through the year – and finished top of the table only to fall short in both semis.

He was named in the Super League Dream Team.

2019 was another stand-out year for Lomax.

Not only did he become a father and enjoy a well-earned Testimonial, but he starred in the halves and led Saints to Grand Final glory.

This was his first final success.

His form earned him another spot in the Super League Dream Team and Lomax was also named Albert Goldthorpe Winner and represented Great Britain on tour.

Last year again saw Lomax pull the strings in the halves as he topped the Super League charts for try assists in 2020 earning him another Dream Team inclusion, leading Saints to back-to-back titles.

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So far Lomax has made 242 appearances for Saints scoring 111 tries, 103 goals and 2 drop goals.

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