Tommy Lee admits he could have been knocked down by a feather when one of the most famous clubs in the world of Rugby League came knocking on his door.
Major surgery on a long-standing knee problem in mid-season left the Salford skipper pondering what kind of future he had in his chosen profession at the age of 28.
I’m really excited at the prospect of playing alongside some great players, I’m enjoying the training and can’t wait to get goingTommy Lee
The Red Devils gave the Hull-born hooker permission to speak to other Super League outfits as his two-year contract at the AJ Bell Stadium came to an end and when Saints’ boss Keiron Cunningham registered an interest it was too good an offer to resist.
Lee said: “It was a great shock and at the same time a great boost to me as a player and person.
“I had got wind that St Helens might be interested in signing me and I was desperate to get a deal sorted out as quickly as possible.
“It’s not every day you get a chance of joining a club of Saints’ stature and I’ve not looked back since.
“I’m really excited at the prospect of playing alongside some great players, I’m enjoying the training and can’t wait to get going.”
Lee is one of Super League’s most experienced players, making his debut for the Airlie Birds in 2005 and going on to ply his trade at Huddersfield, Wakefield, Crusaders, London Broncos and latterly the Red Devils.
It is the kind of CV which Cunningham considered before taking him on board.
Cunningham said: “Tommy is a versatile player who can operate at no. 9, in the halves and at loose forward, giving me the chance to take pressure of the likes of James Roby.
“He is experienced, too, and his leadership and composure will be vital in our young squad as we look to challenge for honours this season.”
But Lee doesn’t want to play second fiddle to anyone in the squad.
He said: “I would love to be first choice hooker and play every week, but I have to accept that competition will be extremely tough. I just hope we can all work together and add something to the team ethic.”
Lee, who has signed a two-year deal at the Totally Wicked Stadium, will be hoping to end his career at the club.
He said: “I feel I have still got a lot of rugby in me, eventually earning a contract extension and finishing my time as a St Helens player.”
It will also be an opportuniity to renew his partnership with former Salford colleague Theo Fages.
“Theo is a very good player and seems to have benefited from his move to St Helens at the beginning of last season,” said Lee.
Following the serious leg injury Matty Smith picked up in Sunday’s Karalius Cup clash with Widnes Vikings, a Lee-Fages first team reunion may just be around the corner.