Off-contract Waqa Blake makes admission on St Helens future

Drew Darbyshire
Waqa Blake St Helens Alamy

Waqa Blake in action for St Helens

St Helens winger Waqa Blake says he is ‘loving’ his time with Paul Wellens’ side and would be very much open to extending his stay with the club.

The Fiji international arrived at the Totally Wicked Stadium a one-year contract back in January, scoring seven tries in 12 appearances in the Red V so far.

It was a mixed start to life in Super League for Blake, who admittedly, was behind the 8-ball initially having only put pen to paper at the back end of pre-season, with the season starting less than a month after he landed in England.

But as the season has progressed, Blake has started to find his feet after losing a bit of weight, getting fitter and regaining match sharpness, scoring six tries in his last six games whilst making a positive impact on Wellens’ side with his strong carries out of backfield.

“I think the track is drying up a bit for me,” Blake told Love Rugby League when asked about his recent upturn in form. “I got here, had to trim down a bit, I came here a bit out of shape but the staff here have been really good, they’ve helped me out and put their faith in me so that’s just me repaying their faith in me: just working hard.

“My job is pretty simple on the wing, I’ve just got to run hard, carry hard and get us out of the backfield.

“I’m loving my time here and that comes on the back of the boys I’m playing with. It’s not just me, I think they bring it out of me – me smiling – they’ve had my back. It’s good to see – not just myself – but everyone else enjoying their footy so that’s a good win for us (against Catalans) going into the break, we will take that. We’ve got four games away (now) so we’ve got to lock that right in (before) we come back home.”

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Waqa Blake discusses his St Helens future

Waqa Blake St Helens Alamy
Waqa Blake (centre) celebrates a try with his St Helens teammates James Bell (left) and Matty Lees (right)

With Blake only signing a one-year deal with Saints at the start of the year, that obviously means his contract is due to expire at the end of the current campaign.

The 29-year-old admitted he is not too concerned about his future at this moment in time, and is simply focused on producing his best rugby for St Helens, but is very much open to the possibility of staying in the Red V beyond this season.

“I’m just rolling with the punches at the moment,” Blake told Love Rugby League when asked about his future.

“If I’ve got to worry about the future.. First you’ve got to play good footy, the rest takes care of itself. If I’m not playing good footy and all that, then obviously I’m going to be on the back foot so at the moment I’m playing good footy, I’m enjoying my footy and the boys are helping me out, so whatever happens, then yeah – if I could stay here – I love this club, this club has been good to me and they’ve had a lot of faith in me.”

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Blake spent nine seasons in the NRL with Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels prior to his move to Super League, scoring 62 tries in 165 games.

And whilst the Fijian flier still may have ambitions to return to the NRL one day, Blake, a Manchester City fan, says he is enjoying life in England.

“I wasn’t enjoying the weather at the start when I first got here, it was very cold but now it’s warming up,” Blake laughed. “It’s true what they say about the England summers, it could be 18 degrees but it’s really warm but, in Aus, 18 degrees would be nothing but here you feel it, you feel the heat here.

“I haven’t been to London yet, Liverpool is the closest (city) so I went there first and I went to Manchester and I’ve even been as far as Leeds and that’s a good city too, it’s like a mini Manchester and Liverpool so it’s a beautiful country and I’m loving my time here.

“I’m Man City (supporter).. Next time I’ll show you the jersey, Haaland number nine!”

‘I’m loving my time here, I’m grateful for this club’

With the Challenge Cup final taking centre stage at Wembley this weekend, and with Saints not involved in this year’s final, Wellens’ players will get a couple of days off to recharge their batteries.

“Not too much (planned) to be honest,” Blake added. “The club really do look after us, I can’t complain! This club’s very good, a few of the boys are going away but I’m still sort of trying to get to know the UK – I still find it crazy when I go to Liverpool and Manchester. I’m loving my time here, I’m grateful for this club.”

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