Jon Wilkin’s reign as club captain is over after three seasons at the helm but his future commitment to Saints will be as strong and dedicated as ever.
Wilkin, who joined St Helens from Hull KR in 2002 and is the longest-serving player currently on the books, will continue to bring his skill, know-how and experience to a set of players tipped by the bookmakers to be among the honours in Betfred Super League XXIII.
He has also given the thumbs-up to James Roby - his successor as skipper - and described the hooker as ‘the ‘best player in the club.’
The 34-year-old Yorkshire-born multi-talented star said: yesterday: “I am delighted for James and wish him all the best in his new role.
“He can also rely on my own full backing and support in a job which I know from past experience isn’t always easy but can be rewarding at times.”
On his own future, Wilkin is keeping his cards close to his chest and wouldn’t commit himself on setting a date when he will finally hang up his boots.
It could be at the end of this season, or further down the line, but insists that he currently feels physically and mentally fit ahead of the new campaign.
“It will be my decision - and mine alone - when the time is right to retire but until then I will give my all for the club week-in and week-out,” he said.
When he does call it a day, he will have a bagful of cherished memories to fall back on as one of the most decorated players in the game.
And the greatest Saints’ team he had the honour of playing along side ?
“Without question our 2006 squad,” said Wilkin, who excelled in his second row role which was hardly surprising when looking at the quality of players in the line-up
The squad was packed with internationals, including the likes of Paul Wellens, Jamie Lyon, Sean Long, Keiron Cunningham, Leon Pryce and skipper Paul Sculthorpe.
It was also a year Daniel Anderson’s charges won the Challenge Cup Final, the League Leaders’ Shield and the Old Trafford Grand Final, as well as the BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year award and Anderson taking home the Coach of the Year accolade .
Let’s hope those halcyon days are just around the corner once more !