20th January 2018, 13:38 | StHelens
St Helens came agonisingly close to making a ninth Grand Final appearance last year after a strong end to the season, but fell just short in the semi-finals against Castleford.
New coach Justin Holbrook stabled a previously rocking ship at the Totally Wicked Stadium, most notably securing the services of Ben Barba.
However Saints have signed just one player in the close season, with promising forward James Bentley coming on board from Bradford Bulls.
That does mean a squad who are familiar with each other and if Holbrook can get his side playing how they did at the end of 2017, when they won seven of their final 10 league games, they could be a dangerous proposition this season.
St Helens begin their campaign in a repeat of the memorable semi-final four months ago, when they host Castleford Tigers
After serving the end of his suspension, the full-back wasn’t at peak fitness during the Super 8s but showed glimpses of magic, which saw him win the NRL Dally M Medal in 2012.
If the ex-Canterbury, Brisbane and Cronulla man can return to consistent form, he could be St Helens’ key to true success in 2018.
James Bentley (Bradford Bulls)
Greg Richards (Leigh Centurions)
Tommy Lee (Hull KR)
Matty Fleming (London Broncos)
Brad Bilsborough (Whitehaven)
Castleford Tigers (Home)
Catalans Dragons (Away) – Sky Sports
Huddersfield Giants (Home)
Salford Red Devils (Home)
Warrington Wolves (Away)
Leeds Rhinos (Home)