THE new Super League season is now less than a week away – a year in which there will be something of a new look for Saints given they go into it without the title resting in the trophy cabinet for the first time on four years.

It will also be something of a fresh start on the field with the playing retirement of James Roby leaving a void at 9 swiftly filled by England hooker Daryl Clark.

As significant, if not even more so, is the captain’s armband being passed to long-serving half back Jonny Lomax.

Although proud as punch about being given the captain’s role at his hometown club, Lomax is certainly not content to simply wear the armband as the prize and is determined to do that role justice.

Although he has now had time for his appointment to sink in, having been informed on the January training trip to Cyprus, Lomax explained how he initially reacted.

Lomax said: “It is a proud moment. I've walked out the lads before and been deputy to Robes for his tenure as captain and led when he would go off the pitch.

“But actually being given the title, knocked me back quite a bit.”

He explained how he was told the news, whilst in the in the Colonel's mess on the Army base in Cyprus.

“The Colonel delivered a speech, which was like an Oscar winning award on leadership.

“Then Paul (Wellens) spoke on leadership and then James (Roby) also on leadership.

“I was bursting for the toilet, but then Paul said, ‘We're announcing the captain’, so I thought I can’t go now.

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“After he announced me as captain I had to go up after the other three had all delivered prepared speeches.

“I managed to hold my emotions together and get some words out to thank the lads and everyone for the opportunity and said ‘I hope to do you proud, like I hope to do the club and the community proud.’

"It's not just about getting that title, it's about doing it justice and I managed to get them words out and then sat myself down.

“A few of the lads started coming congratulating me and kind of broke me a little bit.

“I texted my wife and my mum and dad but because we were in the Colonel's Mess, I couldn't actually speak to my family until a couple of hours later.”

Lomax, who recently announced that he has penned a new two-year deal, re-iterated his desire to deliver in the role.

“It was a real proud moment and a real honour but I know how much it means and what it entails.

“For myself, it's easy to be proud, but I want to do it justice for the club, the community, the supporters and those that have helped give me the opportunity to do this from being a young lad.

"That is because the reality is that this is a bit of daydream thing that you probably think about when you are young lad.

"And then for it to actually come to fruition is certainly a proud moment and I am incredibly honoured,” Lomax said.

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Even with the departures of some experienced personnel, Lomax is well-aware that the strong leadership group that he spearheads will ensure that he is not on his own.

This week the club confirmed that Jack Welsby and Morgan Knowles would step up to the vice captaincy roles, but that is only a segment of the leadership group.

Lomax explained: “We have obviously really strong leadership group for a for a good while and we have good leaders within it's not a dictatorship and you need people with good values, good beliefs and good behaviours to do the right things.

“If you have that idea of leading by example first that certainly gives power to your voice.

“I think we need to have a mindset that is a ‘lead by many’, the more strong leaders you have as an organisation, the best chance to give yourself and more people are doing the right things.

“From what Robes has done is incredible because he kind of shows everyone the right way to go about things.

“And we would all be lying within the team if we don't aspire to be a little bit of James Roby.

“But we've lost Louie as well, and it's kind of funny that Louie retired in the same year as James and it would be rude to not give Louie what he deserves after what he's brought to this club.

“He's brought a sense of leadership but also a sense of fun constantly and what he's been able to do and the character has been fantastic.

“And in that kind of leadership capacity those two will be certainly missed.

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“Also, Will Hopoate has gone too – and it is a shame he probably did not take the field on as consistent a basis because it was clear what he brought and what he has done in the game has been huge.

"He was a really strong leader that some people didn't realise just how strong a leader he was.

“But I feel as though that our new crop of leaders are already in place.

"I feel this gives them more confidence to step up and be those voices and be those people that lead the right way through their actions because the reality is they're already doing it.

“It's just that probably you're thrust into that position more so because of the people that have left and you feel as you're not stepping on people’s toes.

“For me in the leadership group, there's probably about six, but I think the reality is that there’s so many more than that within the group.

"We’ve got so many really good leaders in their own right that I need to encourage.

"They might not be in the leadership discussions, but I know that they have the traits, values and behaviours to be leaders.

“That is why I need to encourage them to speak up because they're constantly leading through their actions.

“And that's something that I'm going to try and do - empower some of those other people that you can clearly see you doing the right things constantly to back their voice.”

Especially for St Helens Star subscribers, there will be a full interview with Jonny Lomax online this week.

There will also be feature pieces with Alex Walmsley, Jack Welsby and an in depth Q&A with Saints' S&C coach Matt Daniels - all written exclusively for our subscribers.

There is currently a special offer on for subscriptions that expires on February 20.

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