As one of St Helens’ high-profile off-season signings, you may expect Kevin Naiqama to feel under an element of pressure. After all, 2018 saw the Saints excite rugby league fans with their brand of rugby yet failed to win anything other than the League Leaders’ Shield. However, the Fiji captain is eager to entertain with Justin Holbrook’s team as they aim to go the extra step to major silverware in 2019.
“With the coaching staff and playing group we have here, there is definitely a great opportunity looming. We were unlucky this year and I’m sure with the new additions we can better our chances in 2019,” he told the club’s official website. The former Wests Tigers centre will replace Ryan Morgan in the Saints’ threequarter line, probably at right centre, and believes that his style of play will help their quest for glory next year. “The style of footy here does suit me and I’m sure Lachlan Coote and Joseph Paulo feel the same, too. I’m also hoping the football I play is what head coach Justin Holbrook brought me here for – that’s being fast, explosive and creating opportunities on the edge.”
Naiqama, Coote and Paulo are the three highest profile signings St Helens have made ahead of 2019 will former York City Knights second-row/centre Joe Batchelor also making the move to the Totally Wicked Stadium. Naiqama has spoken out in the past of his delight at having joined the club and reaffirmed this, stating that “it was a deep desire of mine to come to England and compete in Super League.” He also expressed how impressed he has been after working with his new team mates in training. “It is an awesome playing squad and the boys make it very enjoyable and exciting to turn up every day at training,” he told the media.
Naiqama will be keen to earn a starting spot for St Helens’ season opener against rivals Wigan Warriors on the 31st January, a match which is also the first of Super League 2019.