Wello Impressed By Walsh

PAUL Wellens says Luke Walsh is already showing signs of what a fantastic acquisition he will be for the Saints.

The Club Captain has been impressed by the former Penrith Panther who seems to have slotted into life at Langtree Park already.

“People said we were without a natural seven last year but I thought Jon Wilkin did a fantastic job for us,” he said. “In Luke, I have seen someone who is very comfortable in a position he has been in all his life. He kicks the ball well, organises the team and things flow when you have someone used to that job.

“It’s also meant Wilko is free to do what he does best. We have effectively gained two players. Jon made his name in the back row and played for his country there. We are looking forward to the new season.”

As well as being involved with England in the World Cup, Wellens shared that role with the gruelling pre-season preparations for Super League XIX.

And he’s happy with progress so far.

“It’s gone really well,” he said. “The guys are training as well as they have done in recent years and have a smile on their faces. We’re working hard and it has been pretty tough and gruelling at times. Our conditioner Matt Daniels has been putting us through our paces, which is expected at this time of the year, but everything is moving comfortably at the moment.

“There’s an analogy that if women remember the pain of giving birth, they wouldn’t do it again! I know it’s tongue in cheek but pre-season is a little like that. You forget how bad it was when it’s over, then when it comes around, you’re off again, ripping in.

“It is tough so we all have to work for each other to get through the sessions. That really helps for camaraderie in the squad.”

As part of pre-season, the players have been out at 6am on a Saturday to run to alternative venues for their training.

“It’s quite good in a way as it breaks up the session and gets us out of our usual environment. It is a different challenge as these sessions are usually the toughest – we’re out on the hills or running at the Dream for example. We do have fun but we are ruthless with each other too if someone makes a mistake.

“We’ve not won anything for five seasons but we’ve not been too far away. Pre-season is about ironing out these rough areas and not accepting substandard efforts or performances. It’s about doing the things we need to do to be part of a St Helens team that is successful.

“I’ve been part of that in the past so I understand what it takes. We need to get that mentality throughout the rest of the squad. What may be seen as an indiscretion here or there, can be the difference between winning and losing in the big games.”

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