Former St Helens star Matty Smith is the new head coach of the women’s team for the 2023 campaign. It is the 35-year old’s first coaching role after retiring from playing at the end of last season after a second spell with Widnes Vikings.

Smith came through the Saints academy, before making his debut in 2006. He returned to St Helens in 2017. The scrum half played for several other clubs including Wigan Warriors and Salford City Reds, notching up over 300 games, He won the Challenge Cup, the Super League and the Lance Todd trophy and won four England caps.

Derek Hardman becomes the head coach of the men’s reserves team, while Ian Talbot moves from that role to assistant coach of the first team. Smith will also be assisted by Hardman and former England Women coach Craig Richards.

Smith said: “It’s a great honour to be given the opportunity to come back to the club and coach such a talented group of women. I’m really looking forward to getting started and building up to what I know will be a successful 2023 season.

The chance to come back to the club was one I couldn’t turn down. I hope with all the knowledge I have gained during my career I can use it to push the team to the next level. I am lucky to have inherited a great backroom staff who not only have good knowledge of the game but are also great people which is key to success. I hope all the fans can get behind the girls this year.”

Saints CEO Mike Rush is delighted to have made this appointment: “Matty has a wealth of playing experience that will stand him in great stead as he begins his coaching journey back at his hometown club. His appointment will help further develop our already strong Women’s set-up and hopefully bring more silverware to the Club.”