CHAMPIONS Saints have assembled a strong squad for 2022 as they prepare for a tilt at an unprecedented four Super League titles in a row - but getting them into 17 spots will be the first challenge facing coach Kristian Woolf.

There has been a bigger than normal turnover in the off season; key personnel including Lachlan Coote, Theo Fages and Kevin Naiqama have all moved with six new recruits coming in to replace them or challenge for spots.

Some of those roles had already been replaced from within, with Lewis Dodd securing Fages' spot when the French scrum half suffered a season-ending broken shoulder at Wembley.

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The versatile Jack Welsby has been handed the number 1 jersey and will have first crack at filling Coote's boots - and with it the opportunity to nail down a regular position after spending three years flitting between a number of spots.

But nothing is set in stone, particularly given number 3 Will Hopoate, signed as a centre, has played more than 100 NRL games at full back and played his test football with Tonga there.

Could that free up Konrad Hurrell, signed as something as wildcard from Leeds, to force his way into the starting 13?

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Having players with the sort of versatility of Hopoate and Welsby gives a degree of cover to the backline, with plenty of talent in the numbers between 18-31.

Selecting a 17 from such a quality squad will present a welcome headache for coach Kristian Woolf - inevitably some players of quality will be sitting it out when the

The jersey numbers give an indication of initial thoughts - with players rewarded for their efforts in the red vee with a number in the top 13.

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In round one Saints will be without the suspended Sione Mata'utia who picked up a ban from the Grand Final.

So what would the opening 17 look like?

A probable starting 13 for the opener against Catalans Dragons on February 10 would look like this: Welsby; Makinson, Hopoate, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Dodd; Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Sironen, Batchelor, Knowles.

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The certainties on the bench would be hooker Lussick and prop Paasi, with Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook probable for the second bench prop spot.

If that is the case, who would get that fourth bench spot? James Bell or Jake Wingfield to come on at 13?

Would Hurrell give a back on the bench option and add a bit of impact off the bench? Kyle Amor, who was a rare non-playing sub at Old Trafford, has always been a dependable option to cover the middles.

When Mata'utia returns from suspension it will show how much quality Saints will have on the sidelines - and that is without including the young talent in the 20 and 30 numbers.

So from this Saints squad, pick your own starting 13 and four-man bench.

Saints squad: 1. Jack Welsby, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Will Hopoate, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Regan Grace, 6. Jonny Lomax, 7. Lewis Dodd, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Matty Lees, 11. Sione Mata'utia, 12. Joe Batchelor, 13. Morgan Knowles, 14. Joey Lussick, 15. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 16. Curtis Sironen, 17. Agnatius Paasi, 18. Kyle Amor, 19. Jake Wingfield, 20. James Bell, 21. Josh Simm, 22. Ben Davies, 23. Konrad Hurrell, 24. Dan Norman, 25. Matty Foster, 26. Sam Royle, 27. Jon Bennison, 28. Lewis Baxter, 29. Danny Hill, 30. Jumah Sambou, 31. Taylor Pemberton.

Pictures: Bernard Platt