NEW signing Jack Owens will be given the first chance to stake a claim for the problematic full-back role at St Helens in 2016.
The 21-year-old, who has joined Saints on a two-year contract from Widnes, played most of his Super League rugby on the wing for his home-town club but has caught the eye of Saints coach Keiron Cunningham at full-back in training.
Jack Owens has impressed in pre-season and will slot in at full backKeiron Cunningham
“Jack Owens has impressed in pre-season and will slot in at full back,” Cunningham told a news conference.
Cunningham was forced to use five different players at full-back in 2015 after losing Jonny Lomax, Lance Hohia, Shannon McDonnell and Mark Percival at various stages to injury.
Adam Quinlan took on the job for the last three months of the season after being signed from Parramatta but he was released at the end of the season and Lomax and McDonnell are still recovering from knee and Achilles tendon surgery respectively.
Cunningham also revealed that winger Adam Swift and prop Alex Walmsley underwent surgery in the close season but he expects to be able to field a near full-strength team for the opening Super League game against Huddersfield on February 5.
Owens is set to make his first appearance for St Helens in Sunday’s friendly against Dewsbury at Langtree Park.