JONNY Lomax has hailed his mentor and former teammate Sean Long as a rugby league genius.
The St Helens ace, who now wears the number seven shirt which belonged to Long during his 12 years at Knowsley Road, is set to have a huge impact next season.
Lomax played at full-back, wing and hooker before finally making the scrum-half position his own.
And it was the influence of Long, who is now assistant coach at Salford, Saints first league opponents at their new ground, that inspired Lomax when he finally settling at scrum-half.
“To wear the shirt that Longy wore for 10 years or more, it’s a bit of a dream really,” Lomax said.
“Longy was a massive influence, he’s done things you couldn’t imagine other people doing.
“I was lucky enough to play with him in a few games. He’s a genius, I learned so much from him, even playing on the wing.”
The 21-year-old Lomax, who wears protective headgear following a life-threatening head injury as a teenager, formed a devastating half-back partnership with fellow youngster Lee Gaskell during the last campaign.
And this season he will also look to experienced Kiwi half-back Lance Hohaia, who like Lomax has also played at hooker and full-back, to help unlocking Super League defences.
Lomax set himself the goal at the start of last season of surpassing his 2010 appearance total of 16, but he went on to play in all but five of St Helens’ 34 matches, including the Grand Final defeat by Leeds.
He would almost certainly have added to that tally in the Four Nations Series, but was forced to withdraw from Steve McNamara’s squad
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