IT does not seem five minutes since Saints were running around Old Trafford with rings on their fingers, but after enjoying the warm afterglow that comes with the tag of three-peat champions they are ready to get back down to business.

Saints, as seasoned international and pack leader Alex Walmsley spells out, are not a team that rests on their laurels or dwells on the past.

The 31-year-old front rower, who will begin his benefit season with a game against Leigh Centurions a week on Friday, retains the same hunger he has for silverware despite the past three years of unparalleled success.

Walmsley explains: “It is like the quote from NFL quarterback Tom Brady: ‘You wanna know which ring is my favourite? The next one,’ and it is no different for us.

“We just want to keep bringing success to the club.”

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Last year Kristian Woolf’s side completed the third consecutive title win for the first time in their history, lifting the Challenge Cup for the first time in 13 years to make it a double.

But with that silverware securely displayed behind the glass cabinet, alongside the trophy treble collected by the women’s team, it has been back to the daily grindstone of pre-season training with eyes fixed firmly on what will be a gruelling and challenging year ahead.

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“We are very much a humble set of lads what we have achieved this last three years has been enormous, but that is done and dusted now,” Walmsley said.

“We don’t want to live in the past – we are looking at this up and coming year.

“We are going to fight tooth and nail to make sure we are in these finals again and pick up silverware because that is what this squad should be capable of.

“The competition has strengthened, it will be tough because all of our rivals have bought players, and the task gets harder.

“We are right up for the challenge and can’t wait to embrace it.”

Although Saints begin the defence of their crown with a Grand Final repeat against Catalans Dragons on 10 February, they get the chance of a tune-up in Walmsley’s testimonial game against relegated Leigh on Friday, 21 January.

The match, against a side now bossed by Adrian Lam, is one that the beneficiary can’t wait for, for a multitude of reasons.

He said: “It will be a really proud moment when I walk down that tunnel on the 21st and I am a little bit daunted by it.

“There’s not many organisations like St Helens in the world so to start that tenth year, in front of our fans, will be a really proud moment.

“Those fans have backed me through it all since I came over from Yorkshire and I feel like an adopted Sintelliner and they have come out and backed me through it all.

“I am looking forward to going out there.”

But there are performance reasons, too, why he is also relishing getting back out for a cobweb- blasting hit-out.

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Walmsley said: “The pre-seasons are long enough and you want to get out on to the field and do what we do best, and that is play rugby.

“I really appreciate Leigh putting their hands up and playing the game for me. They will give us, as a team, a good competitive hit out and opportunity to put into practice the efforts of the last seven or eight weeks.

“Gone are the days where you need a lot of pre-season friendlies because our game over here in Super League is long enough without putting in so many more games.

“But to have a proper hit-out is vital and just be able to put into practice what we have been working on.

“You can do all the conditioning, gym and the contact work but you don’t know where you are as team until you go out there properly.

“This is our opportunity to do that.

“This is a good chance for the players, considering we have got such a strong team this year.

“Although Woolfy will likely know his 17 for the start of the year, there are still a lot of opportunities up for grabs.

“Games like this allow people to stake their claim and prove their worth on the field.”

Tickets are onsale at Saints ticket office.

South stand: £15 adult, £12 concession (65+), £8 Junior (5-16+under 5 free) or £40 Family ticket (2 adults, 2 Juniors) – Unallocated blocks. If there are any padded seats in your area, please note these seats are reserved for Hospitality guests.

West Stand: £13 adult, £10 concession, £7 junior – standing