Regan Grace exploded on to the Super League scene with a stunning try against fierce rivals Wigan at the DW Stadium on Good Friday.
It didn’t prevent the Warriors clinching a 29-18 victory on the day but Saints’ new kid on the block showed his raw potential and became a regular on the wing for the remainder of the season, scoring 11 tries in the process.
Even so, the Welsh-born flier, who celebrated his 21 birthday earlier this month, is taking nothing for granted as he prepares for Super League XXIII.
Back in training after also representing Wales in the World Cup Down Under, which he describes as ‘one of the best experiences of my life,’ he now turns his attention on what will hopefully be another season of moving forward.
“I’m not taking anything for granted but my aim is the build on the progress I made last season and keep on improving,” said Grace, who made 24 first team appearances in 2017.
“Admittedly, I’ve still a great deal to learn but hopefully I’m heading in the right direction.”
Saints’ trophy-less season ended with a 23-22 defeat in the semi-final of the play-offs at Castleford Tigers - an 80 minute epic which was arguably the Super League match of the year.
The campaign had started far from satisfactorily and culminated in the club parting company with head coach Keiron Cunningham and bringing in Aussie Justin Holbrook, who to some extent turned things around by claiming 11 wins from the remaining 18 fixtures after viewing his first match live against
Hull FC at the Magic Weekend in Newcastle.
Grace said: “We will be hoping to get off to a better start in 2018 and this will be our main focus.”
Neither has the Welsh winger’s form during the year gone unnoticed by former GB skipper Garry Schofield who rates him highly according to his newspaper column and ‘the best domestic newcomer of 2017.’
Schofield enthused: “Like a lot pf people, I like Regan very much.
“If Saints start to move the ball around next season, then he will score a bucket load of tries. He is a great finisher and so exciting to watch.”