I’m No Adrian Morley: Morgan Knowles On Saints, Silverware And World Cup Glory

Saints can take a giant step towards a fourth successive title by clinching the League Leaders’ Shield against Wigan Warriors this weekend
10:35, 26 Aug 2022

He’s been endorsed by Adrian Morley as England’s next leader, but St Helens forward Morgan Knowles just wants another Grand Final win. 

Saints can take a giant step towards a fourth successive title by clinching the League Leaders’ Shield in the backyard of arch enemy Wigan Warriors this weekend.

The 25-year old Knowles has emerged as an integral part of the champions’ pack, leading legend Morley to label the Cumbrian as an old-school enforcer who the national team must build its future around.

Knowles, though, believes such praise is barely deserved.


“I don’t know about that, and I wouldn’t be giving myself the tag of an enforcer,” the three-time Dream Team loose forward told The Sportsman.

“The way I play, I just try to work hard and put myself about physically and be the player that players want to play alongside. 

“I don’t know about years to come with England, I’m just hoping I can play well this year and just be involved at the World Cup. To have that from a legend like Moz though is really nice to hear.”

Knowles is a graduate of the Saints academy having signed from Barrow Island as a 16-year-old. 

Known for his hard running, big hitting and confrontational front-foot style, it is no surprise that Knowles has a big fan in Morley.  

An injury-ravaged Saints season has probably accelerated his rise into the team’s leadership group, and Knowles believes the champions deserve more respect than they have received as they prepare to secure top spot in the Betfred Super League.

“We have coped with injuries and adversity really well. I don’t think that has really been acknowledged too much outside of the group because of where we do sit in the table. 

“I’m proud and pleased of our strength in depth to still be top with the amount of blokes we have had out.

“The League Leaders’ Shield is the toughest one to to win, proving to be the most consistent team over the year, but in all honesty it is only to put yourself in the best position going into the playoffs. We all know the Grand Final is the big one alongside the Challenge Cup.

“It is a massive achievement for us as a club through the adversity that we have had and to do it at Wigan would be significant. But there is a good chance we will play again in the Grand Final and that’s where it would matter.”


Clubs are now poised for a hectic schedule of games to cram the remainder of the season into the next month, facilitating an earlier than usual Grand Final before the World Cup. St Helens coach Kristian Woolf has been one of the more vocal critics of a fixture list that seems hugely counter-productive to producing quality rugby league in World Cup year. 

But as Saints prepare to play three times in eight days and five games in 20 days, Knowles says the players are resigned to being overworked.

“All the player welfare stuff has been talked about but nothing changes so you just crack on and get on with it,” he adds.

“It’s been going on a few years with plenty of opinions and feelings expressed but it’s never changed. 

“Players are really professional and whatever we get asked to do we just keep delivering as we will do for England at the end of the year. The amount of games is a tough challenge but we just try to get ourselves in the best place we can be.

“These are exciting games at the end of the year. From the top down we have a really good culture at the club, set by James Roby our leader. We are aspiring to be like him and keep those standards that he drives.”

An injury-free Morgan Knowles will himself be a leader, and one of head coach Shaun Wane’s key England weapons for the World Cup. Although the recent availability of Sydney Roosters loose forward Víctor Radley won’t have gone unnoticed as a rival for the number 13 shirt.

“Victor’s a great player and is only going to improve the squad so it’s only a positive for England. I will worry about that when we are in camp if I’m involved, but it’s only a good thing for England,” he says.

“First and foremost if I’m involved then all I want is to be part of an England team that goes and wins the World Cup.”

St Helens are EVS to win the Grand Final with Betfred*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

Suggested Searches:
The Sportsman
Manchester United
Manchester City
Premier League
Sportsman HQ
72-76 Cross St
Manchester M2 4JG
We will not ask you to provide any personal information when using The Sportsman website. You may see advertisement banners on the site, and if you choose to visit those websites, you will accept the terms and conditions and privacy policy applicable to those websites. The link below directs you to our Group Privacy Policy, and our Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at: [email protected]

All original material is Copyright © 2019 by The Sportsman Communications Ltd.
Other material is copyright their respective owners.