Academy products Lewis Baxter and Jonathan Bennison sign first team deals
Young guns Lewis Baxter and Jonathan Bennison have put pen to paper and signed their first professional forms at St Helens.
Prop or loose forward Baxter, 19,as signed a two year contract while Bennison's deal will see him train with the squad alongside studying at Liverpool University during the next three years.
Baxter, whose community club is Wigan St Jude's, played 24 times for the Academy in 2019, scoring eight tries as he helped Saints reach the Academy Grand Final.
He also made one appearance for the reserves in 2020 and has been at the club for five years, having joined as a scholarship player at U15s level..
Bennison, who played for West Bank Bears and Thatto Heath Crusaders before joining Saints Academy in 2019, is a full back or stand off and made three appearances for the U18s in 2020 and has so far played seven times for the U19s, scoring an impressive seven tries along the way.
Both were part of the successful Academy tour of Australia in 2019, playing alongside Lewis Dodd who has shown the way, impressing in the first team of late.
The promising duo have been training with the first team squad over the last few months and are delighted to sign their first professional deals.
Baxter said: “This is something I have been working towards since signing at scholarship level. To finally get that chance to sign and kick on and potentially make a career for myself is brilliant.
"The speed and the intensity of training in the first team is miles ahead of the Academy level, but it is a challenge that I am looking forward to.
“I want to thank all the coaches, including Derek Traynor and Neil Kilshaw, as well as obviously Kristian Woolf for giving me the opportunity.
''He has told me what I need to improve on and that’s what I will be hoping to do. I want to work hard and learn off some of the senior players who have been doing this for years.”
Bennison said: “I am delighted to sign a deal and I am really looking forward to kicking on. I would like to thank all of the coaches who have helped me throughout the years and hopefully I can gain some experience over the coming months and years.
“I have really enjoyed the challenge of training with the first team and it really helps you raise you standards and improve both as a player and a person. I want to keep improving and be the best player I can be.”