St Helens boss Paul Wellens beams over Waqa Blake coup: ‘We’re confident he will like it over here’

Drew Darbyshire
Waqa Blake St Helens Alamy

Fiji international Waqa Blake has joined St Helens on a one-year deal - Alamy

St Helens coach Paul Wellens has expressed his delight over new signing Waqa Blake, saying the Fijian can be one of many overseas players to thrive in the Red V.

The 29-year-old centre has penned a one-year contract with the Super League club for the 2024 campaign.

Blake, who can also play on the wing, has scored 62 tries in 165 NRL appearances for Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels since his first-grade debut in 2015.

The Lautoka-born back has won five caps for Fiji, recently representing his homeland in the Pacific Championships in the autumn just gone.

Wellens says he is delighted with the addition of Blake, who will wear the number three shirt for his new club in 2024.

The Saints boss said: “We have been on the lookout for some time now and we had other bits around the salary cap that we needed to sort in retaining our own players which is always important.

“But this has also been at the forefront of our minds, and we are so pleased to bring in a player of Waqa’s quality into the squad.

“He is making a big commitment in coming over to the other side of the world and we’re confident he will settle in well and like it over here.

“We have great success in terms of our overseas players doing that and going out on the field to perform well.

“From our end, he’s going to come highly motivated and come to prove a point which will only help him and his performances as well as our group.”

St Helens boss prepared to give new boy Waqa Blake time to settle in to his new surroundings

Wellens believes the key to getting the best out of Blake is to give him time to settle in to life in England and with his new club.

He added: “We want to make sure he settles into our environment and builds up a really good bond with the playing group.

“I am sure if he does that and works hard in training, given the qualities he has as a player, that will reflect in his performances on the field as well.

“We are prepared to give him time to settle and not expect too much too soon.”

Blake takes the vacant number three shirt from Will Hopoate, who hung up his boots following Tonga’s test series against England in 2023.

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