Mark Flanagan is confident he has finally put last year’s injury nightmare behind him.
Almost exactly 12 months ago the 26-year-old was left needing surgery after suffering a serious knee injury in a Super League defeat by Hull KR.
After having to spend the remainder of 2013 a frustrated spectator on the sidelines, he says he’s just happy to be back out on the pitch.
“Last year was a bit of a nightmare for me,” said Flanagan (pictured).
“It was about this time last year I tore my cruciate, which is obviously quite a serious injury. But, touch wood, it’s feeling great now. I’ve got no issues and it’s great to be back out there with the lads.
“It was important for me to have a really good pre season, which I did, and I need to thank the medical staff for helping me get back to where I was. I had to work hard, but it was well worth it.
“I’m pretty pleased with my form at the moment too. There’s always room for improvement though - you’re never the finished article.
“The competition in the squad has helped me too. It means you have to play well to stay in the team. I’ve got full confidence in my ability to stay there but it’s not going to be easy.”
Flanagan also told how confidence was high in the Saints camp following their terrific start to the season - particularly after wins against Leeds in Super League and Huddersfield in the Challenge Cup.
He added: “There’s a good vibe in camp at the minute. The last couple of years we haven’t started that well and, to be honest, we didn’t play very well against Huddersfield - but that probably gave us the kick up the backside we need going into a tough Easter schedule.
“There’s a lot of character and will to win in the squad this year. The Leeds win was one of the most satisfying of my whole career. To have all the young lads come in and the old silverbacks like Paul Wellens roll back the years - his leadership qualities are not to be ignored.
“The good culture at the club stems from years gone by when Saints had the likes of Keiron Cunningham and Paul Sculthorpe. It’s important we continue that because you can’t buy it. You can put together the best players in the world, but if they haven’t got a good culture and a winning mentality they might struggle.”
g Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook reached a career milestone at Leeds on Saturday, making his 100th appearance as a Saints’ player.
LMS made his St Helens debut in a 16-16 draw with Wigan at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on February 12, 2011.
One appearances will also see him reach a total of 200 for his career - having played 97 games for previous club Harlequins (2006-2010) and twice for England (2008-2009).