SAINTS’ opening weekend game with London Broncos was the only Round One game not to pick up any charges from the Match Review Panel – in what was a controversial week on the disciplinary front.

Despite that clean record, Saints coach Paul Wellens is not complacent when it comes to facing the challenges in getting to grips with the new rules around tackles that could lead to head contact.

The referees’ department visited all Super League clubs in the off-season to impress upon them the changes that would be taking place in the 2024 season.

That said, Wellens accepts that it is still a challenge to adjust to the new ways of doing things – especially for those players who have been tackling a certain way quite legally up until now.

Wellens said: “It comes with its challenges and comes with its difficulties.

“Players have behaviours that have built up over a long period of time and these are behaviours that have become habits.

“So what we are tasked with is a challenge to change habits or re-define them.

“We have worked so hard on that in pre-season – and it is so far so good in terms of our discipline but we are going to be challenged further and it is something that every single week we will be challenged to do it again.

“It has been difficult and will continue to be difficult – but it is something that we have to continue to work hard.”

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Meanwhile, Wellens supported the views expressed by veteran prop Alex Walmsley on rugby league live website column earlier this week in which he talks about the greater need for players to be represented and consulted over changes that impact directly upon them at the frontline.

Walmsley also called for a players’ union to act in the interests of the players.

Wellens said: “What the players have lacked for a long time over here is a strong players’ union.

“I even felt the same at the back end of my career when I was playing that for the game to progress it is right for players to have a level of involvement in terms of decisions that have been made around the game and the way it moves forward.

“It would be a massive plus.

“I am hugely supportive in Alex in his right to come out and speak but also what he says as well.”