Half-back gems have history

St. Helens' Lee Gaskell breaks away from the Wigan Warriors' defence during the engage Super League match at the Sotbart Stadium, Widnes. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 17, 2011. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
St. Helens' Lee Gaskell breaks away from the Wigan Warriors' defence during the engage Super League match at the Sotbart Stadium, Widnes. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 17, 2011. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY

JONNY Lomax has revealed the secret behind his telepathic understanding with fellow half back Lee Gaskell – they have been playing for and against each other since they were knee high to a grasshopper.

“We go back a long way and have always been great mates both on and off the field,” said 21-year-old Lomax.

“I played with Orrell St James as a youngster and Lee was at Blackbrook, so our paths crossed on many an occasion, and then we both played in the same town team.

“We have massive respect for each other, and know both our strengths and weaknesses, and this has helped us considerably since we first played together as a partnership in the Super League game at Leeds Rhinos during March.”

Lomax added: “We both have similar personalities and are a couple of quiet lads, even though we have strong characters, and what you see is what you get.”

A great deal has been written and said of the contribution Saints’ young guns have made to the club’s success in reaching the Grand Final for a sixth successive year.

But Lomax said: “We have also got some experienced players in our ranks like Paul Wellens, James Graham and James Roby, and they have been invaluable help to both Lee and I, on and off the pitch.”

It will be Lomax’s second appearance in the Grand Final, having been forced to swallow the bitter pill of defeat against Wigan Warriors 12 months ago.

“I saw what it meant to Wigan when they won last year, and I want to be part of that kind of celebration, hopefully on Saturday night,” said a player who has had to overcome a well-documented serious head injury, which threatened to end his dreams of pursuing a career at Saints before it had got off the ground.

The injury, which resulted in three plates being inserted in his head, kept him out of the game for 10 months before he was given the green light to return.

“I didn’t realise how serious the injury was but my mother, who is a nurse, and my father did.

“I remember sustaining the injury, and although I was suffering headaches, I didn’t do anything about them for five days, and was then rushed to hospital in an ambulance.

“I woke up the next day with stitches inserted in my head, and even then didn’t really how serious my condition was.

“I have made a full recovery and no don’t need to return to the hospital for check-ups.

“But it’s made me realise that you cannot take anything for granted in life, and that why I look on it as a bonus every day I go into training.”

He will also be taking nothing for granted against shock Grand finalists Leeds on Saturday night.

“I am not surprised they have reached the final from fifth spot.

“The are a quality side who have peaked at the right time.

“They will be dangerous opponents,” said Lomax.