Wellens Looks Ahead

TWO points? Just another game? No chance…

Saints take on Wigan at Millennium Magic this Saturday and Saints full back Paul Wellens reckons it won’t be a run of the mill fixture.

“It’s a derby and that says it all,” he said. “Yes there’s only two points up for grabs but it’s the passion that makes it special.

“Cardiff is a fantastic venue too and has been a happy hunting ground for us. We won a Challenge Cup there and the last two Millennium Magic games.

“I scored four tries against Wigan there in 2007 too and it would be nice if that could happen again!”

Wellens, who was named joint captain with James Graham early last week, believes the Saints are ready to push for silverware on all fronts.

“Year on year Super League gets more competitive and this season more teams feel they are in a genuine chance of winning the title. And if you make the top 8 then you give yourself a real chance. We believe we are one of those teams that can contest the final. There’s a lot of hard work to be done but we are prepared to do that.

“We’ve been in pre season for a few months now and there’s only so much training we can do. We now want to go out on the field and put that into practice.”

Behind the scenes there has almost been a changing of the guard at Saints with club legend Keiron Cunningham retiring and new players coming in. Saints also have a new coach in Royce Simmons and Wellens thinks the changes have brought a buzz to the camp.

“It’s good that Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Michael Shenton and Josh Perry have joined the club and fitted in so well. They added extra enthusiasm to the squad – especially Louie – and it is infectious.

“Royce has made some subtle changes attack and defence. One area we all agreed we needed to improve on was defence.

Saints have never struggled to score points, but last year we leaked too many. Royce has touched on that and is making sure we have pride in defence as well as attack.

“This weekend’s game will give us an indication of whether we can do that. And there is no sterner test than against Wigan. They lost a lot of big players – Farrell, Newton and Radlinski – but Wigan has certainly got all that old strength back.

“They are a good side with a lot of good young talent like the Tomkins brothers and Liam Farrell – Wigan lads through and through – who have given their squad a big lift”

Paul signed a two-year contract in the off-season and admits it could be the last two years of his career.

“I’ll be 31 at the end of the month and who knows, it could be the last contract I sign. I want to continue to be competitive and play at high level.

“I also still want to play for England and would answer the call if needed. But I need to play well for Saints first and if it comes then it’s all well and good.”


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