THE sight of then skipper Paul Wellens dropping to his knees after the final hooter at Old Trafford five years ago - beating his chest and roaring with delight and relief is one of the iconic images of Saints' Super League history.

As Saints first major trophy since 2008 - and their last since then - the night of that 2014 Grand Final win over Wigan understandably sticks out.

But Wellens, who has been on the coaching staff since retiring in 2015, is hoping the feelings the side experienced that night will be replicated at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday night when Saints face Salford Red Devils.

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It was Wellens fifth Grand Final ring, but given his previous five appearances had seen a run of four defeats by Leeds and one by Wigan, there was an obvious explanation for that burst of chest-beating emotion.

Wellens said: "That result carried a bit more feeling for me for a number of reasons.

"One, I was captain of the team and it had been a tough year and a tough end in particular because we lost a lot of key players.

"Jonny Lomax, Luke Walsh and then Jon Wilkin, and then a few others as well so we were kind of patched up going into the play-off games.

"Secondly, my previous five experiences of Grand Finals was the run of defeats that we had had.

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"They were really tough to take so my emotions coming out of that game in 2014 was a mixture of joy and relief that we could get back there, but also the joy that we had a lot of young players in that team.

"It was their first Grand Final win and how much it meant to them to get there and win and the joy on their faces is something I will remember for a long time.

"Hopefully by the end of this week we can have a few more guys experiencing something similar."

The game was marred by a brutal opening exchange which saw Wigan prop Ben Flower red-carded for punching Saints only half Lance Hohaia to the ground and then as he lay on the floor.

The Kiwi exited with concussion, meaning Wellens shuffled up to seven where he pulled out the key play that to this day does not where it came from.

His chip kick was collected by wing Tommy Makinson - crucial in the 14-8 victory in what was a tight, tense derby.

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Wellens explained: "I was always a half back coming through as a kid, but one who very rarely kicked or passed so it is probably why I ended up at full back.

"I found myself in the halves that night - and had not trained there prior to that game because I was starting at full back.

"But because of what happened to Lance Hohaia things changed.

"Things happen in big games where moments come along and still to this day I don't know what possessed me to even think about doing that play.

"Sometimes things happen and thankfully Tommy Mkinson was on hand to make the kick a success. The old adage is every kick is only as good as its chaser and the team that came up with the goods when it mattered."

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Prior to that Wellens had tasted the full gamut of Grand Final experiences, winning his first ring as a teenager, backing it the year after but then having his 2002 night ruined when Brandon Costin's stray boot shattered his cheekbone as he dived on the loose ball.

However, Wellens was back with a Harry Sunderland performance as Saints completed the treble in 2006.

Glory days which made the string of defeats that followed even tougher.

To borrow the line from 2014 Grand Final anthem, "If I hadn't seen such riches I could live with being poor."

Thankfully that year drew a line under it.

But he recalls that first year under Ellery Hanley with crystal clarity - even though he probably had to pinch himself.

"It was quite surreal," he said.

"I had played that year but half the games I had played were off the bench in a utility role.

"I came on with 25 minutes to go in that Grand Final as a stand off and ran around making tackles really without doing much with the ball.

"It was such a tight game – we ended up winning 8-6 in what was a war of attrition but to be part of it was phenomenal and I could not quite believe it myself.

"I was 19 and still wet behind the ears and to be on the field with blokes I had stood on the terraces watching for a good number of years – Keiron Cunningham, Chris Joynt, Tommy Martyn and Paul Newlove – it was an unbelievable experience."

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Saints backed that up the following year, with Ian Millward guiding the team to success over Wigan Warriors.

"2000 was the first time I had felt like an established player.

"I had played a full season at full back - and then got to play for England at the end of the year in the World Cup," Wellens said.

"That is when I started to feel at home in that environment and feel confident that my career could kick on in the number one shirt."

But are the lessons for this current crop from Wellens' experience in Daniel Anderson's all-conquering team of 2006?

That year Saints had, like this term, sailed through the league ahead of beating Hull in a tough finals series.

"You can't come up with anything new or fancy because it is a final.

"You don't change the way you go about things - you have to show confidence in what you have done and what has worked.

"That has been the strength of the group this year and why ewe have been so dominant in the league campaign.

"Consistency of performance has been brilliant and that is what we are going to have to do again," he said.

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Wellens has progressed through the coaching ranks under Justin Holbrook after starting learning the ropes under Keiron Cunningham.

This is his – and Saints’ - first Grand Final since his change in roles at the club – and he views it with experienced eyes, but admits to still be learning plenty as a coach and has enjoyed that under Holbrook.

“It is great for the club to be back there.

“We have come close a few times over the last couple of years and not quite managed it. To finally get back there and give ourselves a chance of winning the competition is massive for the club.

“We have wanted that for a good few years, but the determination throughout the course of this year has been there to get to Old Trafford. We give ourselves a chance now and that is all that matters.

“It is different to playing. When you play for the team – you do that but you also have to have a focus on your own performance and what you need to do.

“Coaching takes a wider approach and the areas you need to control from your perspective – it is more about the group and what we need to do to perform at our best.

“I have really enjoyed the coaching side of things particularly with Justin there who has helped me along the way because I have not been a coach for a very long time. It is something I enjoy and working with this group in particular.

“Justin drives high standards around the place and wants the players to work really hard, which they do. That makes it easier from a coaching perspective.

“One thing Justin admits – and he has been a head coach for a few years and is going back to the NRL - but he is continuously looking to learn and see how he can develop, that is something I have picked up off him and you always continue to learn and see where you can better yourself.

“Having the coaching role has evolved here over the years and Justin has given me more and more responsibility which I have enjoyed.”

However, Wellens also gives credits to the players themselves – for their skills, attitude and most importantly their team work.

“One of the reasons I have enjoyed it most is the group of players I have been working with – there’s not a bad one in the bunch and everyone wants to work hard for each other, which has been awesome.

“If you look across our team, 1-17, we have got some excellent players who on any given day can go out and perform really well.

“The biggest strength of the group, as you saw last week against Wigan, is in its collective.

“A group of individuals who all put the team first, all prepared to do the hard work, all prepared to take the tough carries when perhaps others wouldn’t.

“That’s the strength of this team and one I hope will get us an important result on October 12.”

Salford’s tails are up and it has become something of a rugby league fairy tale that the side tipped for the drop have reached the Grand Final.

That side features a couple of the players who featured in Saints’ last win in 2014 – Mark Flanagan and Josh Jones.

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Saints are still favourites to win, and it would be a travesty if the team finishing 16 points clear are not champions. But Wellens looks at it from both angles.

“Given the consistency of this team and the dominance of our league form a lot of people would point that we deserve to win the competition, but on the flip side we knew where we were at the start of the season.

“You know you have to make the play-offs, then win games to get to the Grand Final and ultimately win at Old Trafford to go home as champions.

“We know that and are comfortable with that and will go there on Saturday and give our all, and hopefully it will be good enough to come away with the spoils.

“Old Trafford it is a place where the best way to walk out is a winner – it is a really disappointing place if you don’t win.

“It is a simple message; go there, give your all, perform the best you can – trust in your teammates and work hard for each other,” he said.