SIONE Mata’utia has now served his two-match suspension, handed out in play-off semi-final in Catalans, and is therefore free to play in next Friday’s opening Super League game against London Broncos.

Both of Saints’ pre-season friendlies against Swinton and Salford counted towards the ban, clearing Mata’utia to play for the league match.

With Agnatius Paasi sidelined until June and fellow middles Morgan Knowles and Matty Lees still doubtful for the opener, Mata’utia will operate more as a middle for this campaign.

And coach Paul Wellens was pleased with the shape the former Australian test player has got himself in ahead of the season start.

Wellens said: “Having Sione available is a huge plus for us.

“He has had a wonderful pre-season and in really good physical condition, probably the best condition he has been in a long time.

“We are looking forward to Sione taking the field – and I know he’s excited too.

“He is fitter than he’s been for a long time and that can only be a positive, particularly with the way the game is going.

“It is going to be quicker and more demanding on the players.

“I am really happy with where the playing group is in that respect.”

Wellens said it was too soon to give a definite answer on the availability of Morgan Knowles, Matty Lees and Mark Percival for the round one game with the Broncos.

“We are hopeful that they will be fit but in Round One I am not going to be sending players out there 50/50 and half busted.

“I want to put a 17 out on the field that will compete, work hard and do all the things hat make this team successful when it is at its best.”

Saints are quite blessed, should Lees and Knowles sit this one out, with Jake Wingfield impressive on his return from a nine-month absence.

Wingfield has shown under Kristian Woolf and Wellens that he he can play front row middle, as well as orthodox 13.

Matt Whitley has added strength to the back - adding to the mix of Curtis Sironen and Joe Batchelor.