Other teams want to knock us off our perch, says Paul Wellens

Mark Percival and Tommy Makinson Paul Wellens St Helens.jpg
Mark Percival (left) and Tommy Makinson (right) celebrate St Helens' 2021 Grand Final triumph

St Helens are motivated by knowing every other team in Super League wants to knock the champions off their perch, according to club great Paul Wellens.

Assistant coach Wellens admits it was painful seeing their Challenge Cup defence ended by arch rivals Wigan

But speaking on the latest Love Rugby League Podcast, the former Great Britain full-back reveals how the team has used the setback as a spark to fire up their Super League title defence.

In an honest and open chat on this week’s Big Interview, Wellens said: “It was very difficult not being in the Cup final. It was a huge goal at the start of the season to defend that.

“But what this group has done really well is bounce back from our disappointments. Our form has been good since.

“We are looking forward to the challenge that the rest of the season brings in defending our title which gets tougher year on year.

“There is always pressure at Saints as expectation is so high. But we are more excited by the challenge of defending our title. This group knows what success looks like and what playing in big games feels like; and when you do that consistently it makes you want more.

“Other teams want to knock us off our perch and that is an exciting challenge. Teams turn up wanting to beat the champions and that is something we want to rise to.”


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

Paul Wellens on any potential mid-season signings

Saints’ bid to win a fourth straight Grand Final have been made more difficult to the season-ending injury suffered by their influential young half-back Lewis Dodd

But Wellens says the club will not be rushing into signing any mid-season replacements. He has backed Will Hopoate to step up and shine at full-back.

“The difficult (in signing players mid-season) is around the salary cap,” Wellens said.

“When we signed Will Hopoate it was for his versatility. So when he came here it was with the comfort blanket of him being able to cover a few positions. Unfortunately with Lewis’s injury that’s the position we find ourselves in but we have every confidence Will can do a great job. 

“Jack (Welsby) and Jonny (Lomax) in the halves are a real strong combination so we are well covered there. Down the track we wouldn’t discount it (making a signing) but we are very comfortable with what we have got at the moment.”

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