Wilkin: A dream player for any coach

Jon Wilkin
Jon Wilkin

Reliable, consistent and versatile.

Three words which sum up in a nutshell Jon Wilkin who chalked up another milestone in a glittering RL career when leading out Saints ahead of their Easter Monday derby at Widnes - his 400th appearance at club level.

Hand the current St Helens’ skipper any shirt and nine times out of 10 he will deliver the goods.

Second row is his preferred spot, but he is equally proficient at stand-off, scrum-half and loose forward.

And he is the kind of player most coaches dream about - able to slot into different positions at the drop of a hat if any emergency arises.

Since moving to Knowsley Road from Hull KR, where he played 39 games between 2000 and 2002, he has helped the club lifted every domestic honour possible, including four Challenge Cup triumphs and the 2006 Grand Final win over Hull FC as well as the 2007 World Club Challenge crown, and on the international front has represented Great Britain in six tests (2006 - 2007) and England on 16 occasions ( 2004-2005, 2009 and 2011-2012)

At the age of 31, the best of his playing day may now be behind him but Wilkin, who took over the role of captain in 2015 from Paul Wellens, has still a lot to offer the club.

His vast experience will be beneficial to helping nurture what is a relatively young Saints squad and maybe he can lead them to at least one more piece of silverware before the day arrives when he is forced to hang up his boots after the disappointment of missing the Old Trafford clash against Wigan two years ago suffering from a shoulder injury.

But I doubt whether Wilkin, who is already a great ambassador for his sport on and off the field will severe his connection with the 13-a-side code and strikes me as the type of person willing to take on an administrative or promotional kind of role in due course.

He has already shown he is looking beyond his playing days and along with former St Helens team-mate Mark Flanagan opened a coffee house in Manchester last year ... a man certainly not prepared to allow the grass to grow under his feet.