COACH Kristian Woolf has confirmed that Saints are in the market to replace some of the departing players from the squad of 2021, with recruitment balanced out by promotion from within.

A centre with experience and class will top the list following Kevin Naiqama’s decision to return to Australia at the end of the year.

And with James Bentley leaving for Leeds and Joel Thompson retiring, Woolf says Saints will recruit another backrow, combined with the continued faith they have in an ever improving Joe Batchelor.

Last week Woolf had already announced that Jack Welsby would take Lachlan Coote’s shirt from next term and that no other would come in ahead of Lewis Dodd, if and when Theo Fages announces his departure.

But to keep ahead of the pack, Woolf admitted that some external recruitment was necessary.

Woolf said: “Kevin Naiqama leaves pretty big shoes to fill.

“We won’t bring in players who we don’t think will really add to our team and contribute to making us as good if not a better team going forward.

“We are in the market there and we do need to make sure we bring in some players.

"I would like to think in the next week or two we will have some information there that we can give people.

“I am confident with what we will be able to do going forward.

St Helens Star:

Joe Batchelor

“We need to bring in a backrower because we are losing two, while at the same time provide opportunities for Joe Batchelor who is doing an outstanding job at the minute and deserves an opportunity.

St Helens Star:

Lewis Dodd

“We are also going to bring in an outside back because we have lost two of those as well, but at the same time we need to make sure we are still providing opportunities for Josh Simm, and obviously Jack Welsby.

“We are going to get that balance right, which means we do need to recruit but we also need to promote.

"It is a fine balance between creating opportunities and making sure we are not blocking opportunities for players we see as Super League players in the future, but at the same time looking at where we can bring in experience and some class that helps us be on the same level if not better next year.

"Essentially my job is to make us better every year because that is what the competition keeps doing, chasing, and we have to find a way to keep ahead.

"We have already started that and while we are going to have a fairly big turnover over the last 12 months we have extended a lot of contracts and out of our 17 14 or 15 guys have extended and will be here for the long haul.

St Helens Star:

Jack Welsby

"Just as importantly is replacing some players and bringing in new players to add freshness as well as some quality and experience to our group as well.

"We are trying to get that balance right and I am confident that we are on the right projection there.

"Having the talent there – the likes of Jack Welsbys and Lewis Dodds coming through in key positions allows us to be really selective in what we do bring in as well."