sport

Saints duo pen new contracts

Joe Greenwood has penned a three-year extension with Super League leaders St Helens, while academy product Jack Ashworth has been awarded his first professional contract.

The 21-year-old has committed himself until the end of the 2017 campaign and head coach Nathan Brown believes the prop has a bright future at Langtree Park.

Greenwood joined Saints from Saddleworth Rangers and has gone on to make 29 appearances for the Super League giants - with a further 20 on dual-registration.

"This is great news for both the club and Joe," Brown told the club's official website. "He is a one of a host of younger players who have had a reasonable amount of experience over the past few years and have done well.

"He has a bright future and the more experience he gains and the more he keeps on improving in key areas then the closer he will be to becoming a permanent fixture in the team.

"He has really good natural ability and has made significant improvements from where he was last year. More importantly, he is a nice young kid and that is as important as being a good player."

Greenwood made his debut against his hometown club in 2012 after progressing through the academy ranks.

"I'm really glad to be re-signing at a big club like St Helens," said Greenwood. "It is a great opportunity for me to continue my development and continue my dream of being a professional rugby league player.

"I would like to thank Nathan Brown for giving me first team experience as a young player and showing faith in me as he has done with all the young players coming through the system.

"I am going to keep training and working hard to cement my position in the squad."

Following in Greenwood's footsteps is 19-year-old second-row centre Ashworth, who earns his first full-time deal after a successful spell with the club's academy.

Ashworth was given the opportunity to train with St Helens Under-19s as part of the club's partnership with Rochdale and academy coach Derek Traynor has been impressed.

"Jack has worked really hard since he has been at the club and we have high hopes for him,\" he said.

"He is a big, tough and mobile player who is skillful too. From where he started from he has done really well and it is a great achievement.\"