MORGAN Knowles admits that playing NRL was something he contemplated before signing a contract extension that will keep him at Saints for at least another four seasons.

But the 25-year-old Barrovian, who recently became a father for the first time, was delighted to commit to club that brought him through the system and is eager to add to his pile of honours here.

And in return the three-in-a-row champs get the opportunity to keep on planning and building their pack around the ball-playing, tough tackling loose forward.

Knowles’ skillset, which combines the handling game with the tough stuff, singles him out as one of the rare breed who can still perform that traditional 13 role as opposed to a third ball carrying middle – hence his services will have been in high demand.

But fortunately for Saints, you can’t put a price on happiness – and the Knowles is more than happy to be staying put until at least the end of 2025.

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Knowles said: “I am really made up and having really enjoyed my time here. and the club have been brilliant with me; all the players and all the staff and you can’t really put a price on that so yeah really happy to extending my time.

“You know you have those conversations (about the NRL) and that is something that I contemplated but what we’ve got here I feel really lucky and privileged to be a part of; this team and this group and I want more success with this group of lads.”

The three-peat Saints are something of a team in transition having bade farewell to Lachlan Coote, Kevin Naiqama, James Bentley and Theo Fages – but Knowles is relishing playing alongside the new recruits as they fix their sights on an unprecedented four titles in a row,

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“We have lost some big names and they are definitely going to be missed, but we have filled those gaps with the lads that have come in,” he said.

“It’s going to be a bit of a different dynamic and it will take some time for those boys to bed in and build relationships and combinations, but it’s new and exciting.

“I’m sure that will continue where we left off last year. It’s been really good, really special and something I’ll look back on with great fondness and that has created some great memories but that is quickly forgotten.

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“A couple of weeks after Grand Final and that’s it, everyone’s looking forward to the new year and I definitely am.

“I don’t think I’ve looked forward to going back into pre season another new year then as much as they have this year.

“It’s a fresh challenge, with new bodies coming in and we have got the opportunity to go and do four in a row which no teams have ever done, so I’m really looking forward to having that opportunity.”

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Knowles was unfortunate enough to turn his ankle playing for England in France on the last day of the 2021 season causing a syndesmosis injury.

The good news is that he is ahead of schedule since that operation, and is now up and running – literally.

He explained: “I had ankle surgery in the off season and I am now 6-7 weeks post op and it is going well and ahead of schedule where I’m expected to be.

“I had my first running session today out on the field and was feeling good.

“I will be back, 100 per cent, for the start of the season.”