Paul Wellen’s view on Saints

Saints' Paul Wellens at Langtree Park stadium
Saints' Paul Wellens at Langtree Park stadium

OUR pre-season and build up to the start of the Super League has been so positive that the result on Saturday evening came as a huge shock.

We never got a foothold in the game and to say we were disappointed would be a huge understatement. Being around the town whether filling my car up at the petrol station or walking around the supermarket the most commonly asked question after a defeat is, ‘What happened?’ And it’s a question I ask myself over and over in a bid to try and explain why our performance was well short of what we would all expect.

It’s fair to say that physically we were out-muscled and in any game of rugby league when this happens you make it very difficult for yourselves.

This has a knock-on affect to other areas of your game hence the amount of errors and poor defensive decisions. We have worked on a lot of things during pre-season but to put these into use in a game we need to lay a solid platform and sadly on Saturday that wasn’t the case.

For the golf lovers out there, a good analogy would be that we were like a golfer who has a lovely set of clubs with a great putting game but our driving was so poor we spent the whole day hacking away in the trees, the harder we tried to put things right the worse it became.

Despite the defeat I remain as confident as ever that we will put things right and its important that we learn lessons from the defeat, if there is any consolation to take from the game then its that it is only round one and we still have plenty of time to put things right.

g I WOULD like to congratulate Francis Meli on making his 200th appearance for the club since arriving from New Zealand Warriors for the start of the 2006 season.

You normally associate overseas players with having short term stints in Super League but at our club we quite often have players come from the other side of the world who settle very quickly and remain here for some years. You can go back to players like Tom Van Vollenhoven, Phil Veivers and Shane Cooper in the late 80s and early 90s, Vila Matautia and Apollo Perilini who I had the pleasure of playing alongside and more recently Tony Puletua and Francis himself.

Francis has not only been a great servant for the club but is great to have around the dressing room, he has a unique sense of humour and has the boys cracking up with some of his well timed one liners. It’s just a pity that our performance didn’t make if a more memorable occasion for Francis.

g LAST week the RFL appointed a new chairman, former FA Chief Executive Brian Barwick is the man given the role and I feel this could be a great capture for our game.

Brian seems to have plenty of experience, as well as the FA he has also held roles with the BBC, ITV and Liverpool Football Club.

Brian recently stated his desire to take the game forward which is essential after a fair bit of negative publicity over the past 18 months, some justified and some not.

There is no doubt he will face different challenges than he has in his previous roles but I’m sure he’s well equipped to meet those challenges head on. 2013 is a huge year for Rugby League culminating with the World Cup on home soil at the end of the season, this gives us a great opportunity to showcase our sport and have people talking about Rugby League for all the right reasons.

g I WAS delighted to hear of the successful takeover of Salford Reds, I know after speaking to a few of their players that it has been a very stressful few months not knowing whether the club would remain in business.

With Dr Marwan Koukash having completed the takeover I think Salford can begin to grow both on and off the field and the new owner has made it known that he aims to win silverware at the club, with such ambition it may not be too long before they are a genuine force in Super League.

I was particularly pleased for my former teammates Sean Long, Andrew Dixon and Matty Ashurst who can now get on with their jobs without any added pressure. We are now focused on our game at Widnes on Sunday afternoon, there is no doubt that we will be looking for a positive response and we look forward to seeing those of you who are coming along to support us.

Come on you Saints - Wello

Quote of the week: When adversity strikes, that’s when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on.