A seamless transition: Paul Wellens driving standards as St Helens target five in a row

Drew Darbyshire
Paul Wellens St Helens News Images

Photo: Steve Flynn/News Images

Paul Wellens has taken to his new head coaching role with St Helens like a duck to water as he prepares for another almighty year.

The 42-year-old, who made almost 500 appearances for his hometown club as a player, has moved into the top job at the club after spending seven seasons as assistant coach.

Wellens faces the small task of leading his hometown club to their fifth successive Super League title in 2023 – but he isn’t letting any pressure get to him.

“From a coaching point of view, he has slotted right in perfectly,” Wellens’ good friend and current Saints skipper James Roby said.

“I suppose some people might think it is irregular or different but I think the relationship me and Paul have is a real strength as well as the relationship the other senior players have with him.

“He has taken to it fantastically like we knew he would and Paul drives the standards at this place because he’s been here longer than any of us.

“The young lads who might not have played with him all know what he’s about and what he’s achieved in his career. Everyone has the utmost respect for Paul and we all just want to go out there and do a job for him.”

More of the same

Usually when a club introduces a new head coach it means they are underperforming, with the predecessor given their marching orders.

But for St Helens and Wellens it’s the opposite. Former coaches Justin Holbrook and Kristian Woolf both returned to the NRL as Super League champions.

As a result, we might not see Wellens change too much at Saints in 2023…

“I think time will be an evolution of Wello putting his stamp on things,” said Saints forward Morgan Knowles.

“We don’t need to rip everything up and start again because obviously we’ve been going well. At the minute it is a continuation of the same but I’m sure there will be bits we’ll add along the way.

“With Wello coming in, he’s not going to change loads of things. We know what works. Everyone in the group knows their roles and their bits so hopefully it’ll be more of the same.

“We’ve got a really good leadership group here so its on us to help Wello out and uphold the standards and what we expect.”

PODCAST: Paul Wellens on James Roby, England & coaching ambitions

A seamless transition for Paul Wellens

Wellens is Mr St Helens. The club runs through his veins and that won’t be stopping anytime soon.

The former Great Britain international is continuing to drive the standards as the club targets that fifth Super League title on the spin.

“He is a good coach and he’s similar to what we’ve had in the past and he’s a great bloke as well,” Saints winger Tommy Makinson said.

“It has been a seamless transition really and we are looking to hopefully writing more history with him.”

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