‘This could be the catalyst to win even more trophies’

Paul Wellens celebrates at the final hooter
Paul Wellens celebrates at the final hooter

You could be forgiven for thinking that Saints skipper Paul Wellens had seen it all in rugby league.

But even he admitted he was taken aback by the breathless intensity of Saturday’s Super League Grand Final with Wigan.

The 34-year-old also told of the moment he “stepped in” to wrestle Wigan prop Ben Flower to the ground following the shameful assault on Lance Hohaia.

He said: “The game started off at a frenetic pace - it was an intensity I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before.

“I saw Ben Flower stick one on Lance’s chin - he flattened him out and Lance had to leave the field so I don’t think the ref had any other option but to send him off.

“As a spectacle it’s not what people wanted to see but I stepped in to try to make sure nothing further happened.

“It was disappointing for Lance because he’s worked hard all season but with the new concussion protocols in place he wasn’t allowed to come back on the field, which is disappointing.”

Wellens, who was part of the Saints side beaten in five consecutive Grand Finals, admitted the last few years had been “a rollercoaster ride”.

And, for that reason, he told his teammates to make the most of the post-match celebrations as they don’t know when they might experience it again.

Wellens does, however, think the 2014 breakthrough season could be a springboard to further Saints success.

He said: “It’s great for our supporters. The playing group changes as the years go by but the one thing that’s constant is our fantastic supporters.

“This could be the catalyst for us to win more trophies - especially with such a strong group of younger players.

“We’ve got a title to defend in 2015 now and the World Club Challenge against Souths - there’s lots to look forward to.

“It’s a mouthwatering challenge for whoever the new coach is - our young players will only get better and the players we have been missing will come back in.”

Wellens, who is now set to form part of the England coaching staff for the upcoming Four Nations campaign, is yet to sing a new Saints contract but hopes to play on for one more year.

He added: “I’m planning to play on. I’ve already spoken to Eamonn McManus and Mike Rush but there’s no contract signed at the moment.”