Fantastic news for the Saints fans as Tommy Makinson agrees a new deal with the club that will see him in the famous Red V until at least the end of 2024.

Without doubt, he is currently one of the best wingers in world rugby league. His try-scoring record speaks for itself. Since making his Saints debut in 2011, he has gone on to score 141 tries in 251 games. The 29-year-old is a key member of the England RL squad.

He’s a player I admire a lot. As well as his spectacular try scoring prowess, he has a great work ethic, continuously carrying the hard yards on the early tackles and kick returns – usually creating the momentum for the Saints attacking plan. It’s a massive boost for the club to tie down one of the biggest stars of today’s game.

Speaking of wingers, and in complete contrast to Tommy, I must pay my respects to Wigan Warriors’ Dom Manfredi, who has announced his retirement from the game at the end of 2021. Probably the form wing in the Betfred Super League before his injuries, Dom, aged just 27, has had an horrific run of bad luck over the past few years, consisting of three major knee reconstructions on his left knee, alongside numerous other surgeries and niggles.

It just goes to show how unforgiving professional sport, and especially rugby league, can be. This is something I know well, after going through something similar for the last two years of my career before calling time at 31. I know in both of our cases it wasn’t for the sake of working hard, probably the opposite – just sometimes you know your time is up!

I wish Dom all the very best for the next chapter in his life.

Staying with the arch rivals, whom we face on Sunday, they have had more devastating news that their star Aussie Bevan French will miss the rest of the 2021 season due to a hamstring injury, which requires surgery. He has been given permission to return to his family in Australia to do his rehab. On a positive for the Warriors club, French has exercised his one-year extension to stay at the club and agreed a new deal for 2022.

So, to Sunday’s big game. One thing for sure, we should be fresh. The current Betfred Super League champions haven’t played since the away defeat to Warrington on June 17, with games against Hull KR and Castleford Tigers getting postponed, so we should be chomping at the bit!

They come up against a struggling Warriors side who have lost their last three games against Catalan, Hull KR and Wakefield. Even before this run of losses, I have been far from impressed by Wigan this season – so I don’t see much changing this weekend!

I’m going for a Saints win by 12 points or more (evens at Betfred) with Tommy Mak celebrating his new deal with the opening try! (9/1 at Betfred)

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