IF new signing Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook proves to be half as good as the last London-born prop to pack down in the Saints front row then the club will be on to a winner.

Half a century since the legendary Cliff Watson headed north, the confident 24-year-old East Ender knows he has a fine tradition to live up to when he pulls on the red vee in Saints’ new-look pack.

The twice-capped England prop, the first of Saints’ trio of new signings to arrive in town, said: “Yeah they (Watson’s) are big boots to fill so hopefully I can do the Londoners proud.

“I want to settle down at Saints. It is a new club, new life and new career for me up here and hopefully I can do the business.”

At 6ft 3 and 17 stones, but with a deceptive turn of pace, McCarthy-Scarsbrook will add pace and power to a front row that will be further boosted by heavyweight Aussie Josh Perry.

Out have gone props Bryn Hargreaves, Nick Fozzard, Maurie Fa’asavalu and Jake Emmitt so it will be a fresh looking forward pack next term.

It is that sense of newness – pack, coach and ground – that helped pull the late starter towards St Helens, but there were other factors.

“In my short time of knowing about rugby league I have always known St Helens, Leeds and Wigan – and it goes down in that order.

“Saints have been in eight Grand Finals in the last 12 years. There was a significant allure of joining the mighty St Helens.

“They are also club going through a bit of transition with a new coach, new training facilities and a new stadium. It is like a clean slate for everyone so dropping in here suited me.

“As a rugby league player you only have a short career so you have to grab each opportunity with both hands and I wanted to take this one,” he said Born and bred in football mad East London, McCarthy-Scarsbrook was a late starter in rugby league at 16 and was only put on to the game by a chance conversation with a northern supply teacher.

But he has made up for lost time with rapid progress through the ranks since his first trial.

Starting off at Greenwich Admirals, he was soon spotted by London Broncos and developed in the junior ranks there.

This new game was, however, tough going initially.

“It was a stiff learning curve for me and I had to learn on the road, going up and down the M6 and getting a beating every week.

“Then I got my first pro contract and realised I could actually make a living out of this game instead of working on the rails like my old man,” he said.

Saints fans could not really judge their new recruit from the last encounter between the sides in July - with the then Saints target limping his way through most of the match.

“Yeah, I tore my quad really early on in that game - but I did not want it to look like I was wimping out, so I just strapped it up and carried on,” he said.