Paul Wellens has confidence in the Saints class of 2013

Manchester City season ticket holder Paul Wellens gets a different view of the ground

Paul Wellens touches down against Wakefield

First published in Sport St Helens Star: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Sports Writer

SAINTS full back Paul Wellens looks ahead to another year wearing the red vee and the skipper’s armband with the same optimism, anticipation and infectious enthusiasm he showed as a teenager establishing himself as first team regular.

Wellens, who turns 33 next month, may now be cautiously taking his career 12-months at a time, but there is no sign yet that the rock solid number one is preparing for the finish line.

Rather there is a burning desire for the hometown skipper to play his part in helping steer Saints, under new boss Nathan Brown, back on to the path of picking up silverware.

And surveying the 12 players stood in front of him on match day, a strong bench and those champing at the bit the get into the panel, Wellens is confident that the four-year trophy drought can end this term.

Wellens said the off season has gone well, boosted by the availability of the majority of the squad in training since November, as they keenly take on board the new ideas of new boss Brown and Jamahl Lolesi, who has joined Keiron Cunningham as an assistant coach.

He said: “Nathan and Jamahl have had a positive impact on the club.

“In the short time they have been here, not just on the field with the things we are working on, but off it too with changing the culture and a few different attitudes.

“The guys have trained really well since coming back.

“And it has helped that for the first time since I have been here we have had the majority of the squad back for pre-season which will hopefully give us a new start.”

Wellens has been a permanent fixture at Saints for a long time now and has seen plenty of good times and a few turbulent ones since bursting into Shaun McRae’s team towards the end of 1998.

And that experience of seeing all the ups and downs, the big match wins and the Grand Final heartaches makes the long-standing number one a good judge of where Saints are at now.

It is not a false optimism that fuels Wellens’ view that the men in the red vee can break the stranglehold that Leeds, Warrington and Wigan have had on the trophies this past four years.

That opinion is not based simply on the fresh blood that has come into the team or the benefits of the new coaching regime, it also a reflects of what the team achieved when pulling together last term.

Wellens said: “Although we did not win anything last season – and should never accept that because winning trophies is what we should always strive to do - there were a lot of positives that we could take out of the year.

“I mean the way we responded after a poor start, the way we played in some big games against Leeds and at Warrington a couple of times.

“We played some good stuff during the course of the year and Nathan has touched on it quite a few times since coming to the club that it is not about changing a great deal because we are not that far off.

“It is about making a few adjustments, adding a few little things that will take us that little bit further.

“I know, having been involved with this club a very long time, that we are a very good team and I am confident with the squad we have got and the personnel that we have brought in is excellent.

“The young players will benefit from a years experience and that will help us as a group.

“I enjoyed last year. It was a difficult start – when a coach leaves the club you take that personally as players and that was disappointing.

“But the way we responded and character we showed – I was pleased that I could play my part to help turn around that early dip in form.”

He points to the recruitment of Willie Manu, Jordan Turner and Alex Walmsley as big signings for the club, which combined with the advancement of the youngsters gives saints a strong panel competing for 17 match day spots.

“Whenever I have played in St Helens sides in the past that have been successful that has been the case where you are scratching your head wondering who is going to be left out of the team, that provides competition for places and people can’t take their eyes off the ball.

“If you have a poor couple of games you could find yourself out of the team.

“That’s the way it should be and hopefully that is what it will be through the course of the year to stay in the team,” he said.

As for Wellens, he is delighted again to be confirmed as skipper and vowed to “give it his everything”.

How long he will carry on will be a decision he will take a bit further down the line – he turns 33 next year, which is younger than Warrington trio Adrian Morley, Brett Hodgson and Lee Briers, who continue to show age is only a number.

“If you look after yourself and have a bit of luck with injuries you can play until you are 34 or 35.

“Whether I will do that, I am not so sure at the moment.

“I will take it year on year and that is the sensible option for myself and the club. My only focus is playing well in 2013 and hopefully leading the team to some success.

“If, in 12 months time I am sat here again previewing another season then great, if I am not it will be because the time is right to pack in.

“Only then will I know,” he said

Comments (2)

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6:46pm Mon 4 Feb 13

the dr who says...

Mr Browns boys more like Mrs Browns Boys only not as funny

seeing as the star is being very carefull not allowing comments on the storys of the saints thrashing, i will go ahead on this, what an utter discrace that was on saturday, i have never seen such rubbish in my life,

and nathan browns comments were utter garbage, if there was one team he should know enough about to help his time Hudderfield are it.

if thats all we have to look forward to in the coming months god help us,
Mr Browns boys more like Mrs Browns Boys only not as funny seeing as the star is being very carefull not allowing comments on the storys of the saints thrashing, i will go ahead on this, what an utter discrace that was on saturday, i have never seen such rubbish in my life, and nathan browns comments were utter garbage, if there was one team he should know enough about to help his time Hudderfield are it. if thats all we have to look forward to in the coming months god help us, the dr who
  • Score: 0

9:00pm Mon 4 Feb 13

saintsfan says...

Interesting how comments aren't open under the most recentlol Saints stories!

The showing by Saints on Saturday was abysmal and I agree about Nathan Brown's post match comments also. See Richard Agar's for a more honest appraisal of his team's performance, particularly in the forwards which, of course, is where Saints fell apart to start with. While I knew that Hudds at the start of the year would be a challenge, I did not expect Saints to produce such utter garbage and fold so comprehensively from pretty much the first set of six. It was a shock at first and then it became embarrassing. The boos rang out and by the hour people were starting to leave. Me included!

It was a poor sign that the pitch looked a mess and the club hadn't even put the proper lines back on after their soccer indulgences of the off season. The pitch also looked a real mess, presumably because the soccer scuffed it up. No sign of any cladding when work on it was supposed to happen in the off-season, according to a statement by the chairman at the end of last year, so once again any singing that we started doing flew out of the ground without anyone hearing it. The bar staff were working in short sleeved shirts and shivering. The crowd was down about 3,000 on the same time last year. And the team were atrocious.

Lots to make up.
Interesting how comments aren't open under the most recentlol Saints stories! The showing by Saints on Saturday was abysmal and I agree about Nathan Brown's post match comments also. See Richard Agar's for a more honest appraisal of his team's performance, particularly in the forwards which, of course, is where Saints fell apart to start with. While I knew that Hudds at the start of the year would be a challenge, I did not expect Saints to produce such utter garbage and fold so comprehensively from pretty much the first set of six. It was a shock at first and then it became embarrassing. The boos rang out and by the hour people were starting to leave. Me included! It was a poor sign that the pitch looked a mess and the club hadn't even put the proper lines back on after their soccer indulgences of the off season. The pitch also looked a real mess, presumably because the soccer scuffed it up. No sign of any cladding when work on it was supposed to happen in the off-season, according to a statement by the chairman at the end of last year, so once again any singing that we started doing flew out of the ground without anyone hearing it. The bar staff were working in short sleeved shirts and shivering. The crowd was down about 3,000 on the same time last year. And the team were atrocious. Lots to make up. saintsfan
  • Score: 0

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