ON the eve of his 16th season in Super League Saints skipper Paul Wellens has expressed his optimism for a good year ahead.

The team’s new personnel – on and off the field – as well as the way the team bonded in adversity last term are factors that could help break Saints’ four-year run without a pot.

Wellens said: “What Willie Manu has done in the time he has been in Super League is there for all to see and he has shown glimpses in the trials as to what he is capable of.

“In Jordan Turner you have a player who could play for his country and he should have an eye on a World Cup spot at the end of the year. He has got the ability to play international football.

“And in young Alex Walmsley we may have unearthed a gem really. He’s a big strong lad at 6ft 5 and there’s not many of them knocking around.

“He is not a reserved type of guy and has taken it like a seasoned professional. He is a lot further on in his advancement than you’d imagine.

“With all three they are all really good to get along with and have a great work ethic too.

“They are the kind of characters we want in the group.

“It is really good sign that our 17 will be leaving out players who’d expect to be included.”

After spelling out what Nathan Brown has brought already, Wellens had a few words for new assistant Jamahl Lolesi’s input.

“Jamahl is a very hands on person with a full involvement with all the sessions particularly ourselves in the outside backs because we are doing a lot of work with him on different things. He is great to work with, he has a really infectious attitude, is positive and that rubs off on the rest of the team,” Wellens said.

Saturday's game against Huddersfield kicks off at 4.45pm.