SAINTS coach Nathan Brown saluted captain Paul Wellens for marking his 450th game with a try before urging his skipper to stay at the club.
But, amid speculation linking Wellens with a move to Salford, he admitted that “keeping players is not as easy as it once was”.
Brown said: “We would love him (Wellens) to be able to stay on for another year. The leadership he offers to the younger players, in particular, is first class and the way he competes and prepares to play tells you all you need to know about why he has been able to play so many games.
“He’s a great example to all the other players but Salford are an ambitious club - which is great for the game - but may pose a few other clubs a few problems. They’re a new player in the market, that’s for sure.
“It’s unbelievable for Wello to reach 450 games - especially when you add representative football on top of that as well. He’s a player who competes for every minute of every game too and never takes the easy option.
“It was nice to see him top it off with a try too. He’s been doing some good work for us since switching from full-back.”
Brown remained tight-lipped, though, about reports linking two of Saints’ other experienced players - Francis Meli and Tony Puletua - with moves to the Salford City Stadium.
Both players had previously indicated a desire to move back Down Under.
“Salford have got an ambitious owner who is ready to spend money on good quality, ready-made players,” he said.
“In Brian Noble, they’ve also got a very experienced coach too who knows what’s required to deliver them some immediate success.”
One player who is set for a permanent move away from Langtree Park is current Salford loanee Lee Gaskell - despite his eye-catching performance against his parent club last Friday.
Brown added: “I thought Gaskell played really well against us but he’s not necessarily in our future plans - we’ve already got a full back.
“It’s true that Lee can play in a number of different spots - he’s even been playing in the centre a bit this year - but a change of club at the end of the season would be a good thing for him.”
g THE U19s mantained third spot in the table with a crushing 60-6 victory at Sheffield Eagles on Friday night.
Eight of their 11 tries came in a blistering second-half spell in which the basement club was taken to the cleaners.
Debutant Billy Fisher grabbed a hat-trick and other tries came from LewisvGalbraith 2, Mark Percival, Greg Richards, Dave Hewitt, Matty Fozard, James Tilley and Connor Dwyer.
Charnock landed seven goal and Percival one.