Jonny Lomax is on track for a speedy return to frontline action after recovery from his season-ending knee injury quicker than expected.
The England and St Helens ace damaged knee ligaments during the defeat at Catalans Dragons in June and was forced to watch from the sidelines as Saints went on to claim Grand Final glory.
But the 23-year-old says he is making good progress and believes he will be back before the season starts in February.
“It’s been a long process but I’m getting to the point where there’s some light at the end of the tunnel,” said Lomax.
“There’s just under two months to go in the rehab process and everything seems to be going well for me.
“Hopefully I’ll make one of the friendly games in the pre-season, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
“I’m not in full training yet, I’ve just been doing some running with the physio.”
Lomax says his spell on the sidelines was devastating, particularly as Saints went on to top the league before toppling arch-rivals Wigan at the Old Trafford showpiece.
However, he insisted it didn’t diminish the thrill he experienced watching his teammates lift the Super League crown.
“It wasn’t that tough; I was still part of the team and it was fantastic to get over the line after such a tough run with injuries,” he said. “We had a brilliant start and it got us a home tie in the play-offs.
“It wasn’t that hard to sit and watch it. Obviously I wish I’d played and it was gutting to miss it. But it was awesome to see the lads win.”
Lomax also revealed he is revelling in the experience of working with new head coach and club legend, Keiron Cunningham.
“It’s really exciting to have someone like Kez in charge - his passion is there for all to see,” said Lomax.
“He commands respect without even saying anything.
“With that passion and that buzz, he creates a togetherness for the group. Everyone is inspired by him and I can’t wait to get back and play for him.”