EXPERIENCED former State of Origin back rower Chris Flannery has extended his stay at Saints by another season.

The versatile 31-year-old Australian, who joined Saints in 2007, is delighted to be sticking around to be able to run out at the new stadium.

Flannery, who joined Saints from Sydney Roosters, said: “I have spent a great four years at the Saints and I’m very happy to be adding another season, particularly as the club will be moving into its own fabulous new stadium then.”

His signing adds a bit of continuity and experience to the Saints pack – and has been welcomed by the Saints coach Royce Simmons.

He said: “Flanno is very handy in a lot of respects. He can play anywhere in the back row. Some players today can only play on one side – but he can play left, right and tight.

“During a game you will often see him move to cover all of them when Sia Soliola and Jon Wilkin move to tight or come off.

“If you get an injury he can go play centre, or if needed five eighth.

“He is a real pro, who plays well every week. He puts the ball over the try line regularly and brings plenty.

“He is low maintenance.”

With Saints having plenty of young back rowers in the squad, a man of Flannery’s experience and nous is invaluable – not just in what he does with the football on the pitch.

Simmons added: “He does not talk very often but he says what he means and gets to the point. He is good for the young blokes to have around. The boys like playing with him and that gives him a lot of ticks.

“I am delighted he has decided to have another year for us because there is no doubt he has another year of footy in him.

“He is also a winner. His defence is very strong – he does not miss too many tackles.

“He is not up and down player. That comes down to being a professional and getting ready to play each week.

“He was keen to stay – after this year he may go home but he was desperate to stay here and with us.”

Flannery has followed in the footsteps of the increasingly impressive Tony Puletua in deciding to stick with Saints.

It does, however, mean that any further recruits will have to be British as both the import quota and non-federation trained quota are now full.

Club Chairman Eamonn McManus added: “Chris is a great clubman as well as team member.

“He sets a great example, in terms of responsibility, attitude and commitment, to our younger players and is a key personality in the squad.”