St Helens: Paul Wellens ‘impressed’ with his side’s improvement; ‘Much better’ discipline on show

Ben Olawumi
Paul Wellens St Helens News Images

Photo: Mark Cosgrove/News Images

St Helens coach Paul Wellens has spoken of how impressed he’s been with his side’s upturn in discipline as they approach the two-month marker without a suspension.

The last player from the Red Vee to receive a ban was Morgan Knowles, who sat on the sidelines for two games after a reckless red card at Halifax in the Challenge Cup.

Forward Knowles had already missed the five games before that through a ban, and those two suspensions came at a time where ill-discipline was costing Wellens’ side dearly.

The Saints boss said: “The way the game is going now with the changing rules and the way it’s refereed, it’s a lot harder to get through a game without giving penalties away or having yellow cards.

“I’m not being critical of referees by any stretch of the imagination here, sometimes [penalties or yellow cards] are going to happen.

“That’s the nature of the sport, but I’ve actually spoken to the group over the weekend about how impressed I am. They’ve adapted their behaviour and moderated it too.”

Wellens wants to stay the right side of the line

Saints recently found themselves on the front foot courtesy of poor discipline as they reached the Challenge Cup semi-final.

Drawing 12-12 with Hull FC at the MKM Stadium come the half-time hooter, Josh Griffin was shown a yellow and subsequent red by referee Chris Kendall for dissent.

With a man-advantage, Wellens’ side ran out comfortable victors in the second half and set up a last-four tie with Leigh Leopards later this month.

The boss knows how vital discipline can be to a team’s success, adding: “We’ve still retained our physicality and we play the game how we like to play the game.

Certainly from a discipline aspect though, we are much, much better. When my phone is not ringing every morning from Paul Cullen – or any other members of the match review panel – then it certainly makes my life easier.

READ NEXT: Paul Wellens names six dazzling Catalans Dragons stars ‘who can hurt’ St Helens in Thursday showdown