Wello focused on next challenge as records set to go

Paul Wellens
Paul Wellens

Saints skipper Paul Wellens is getting used to breaking records which would have seemed a million miles away when he played his first top-flight game back in 1998.

He matched Keith Senior’s Super League appearance record - a staggering 413 - in the stunning 14-10 victory over Leeds last month and is poised to become the sole record-holder when Saints travel to Castleford on Friday.

The 34-year-old is also just a single point away from the 1,000-point mark.

He said: “I was immensely proud to match Keith Senior’s record. You obviously need a bit of luck to play that many games - but the most important thing is that you continue to enjoy what you’re doing.

“I didn’t realise I was on 999 points until someone told me earlier this year - and I’ve been stuck there ever since! It’s not something I’m stressing about though. As long as I’m contributing to the team doing well, that’s all that matters.”

Wellens, who has been switched from his familiar full-back role under Nathan Brown following the emergence of Jonny Lomax, told how it was initially “very difficult” to adapt to new positions.

But he told how a demanding pre-season had helped him get to grips with his new challenge.

Wellens also said he was “impressed but not surprised” with the progress made by Saints young guns Jonny Lomax, Adam Swift, Tommy Makinson, Josh Jones and Anthony Walker.

He said: “Dealing with injuries is something we’ve done quite a lot of in the last few years. But the senior players have every confidence in the younger lads to do a good job.

“They’re all very competitive and that competitive spirit really shines through. People didn’t give us much of a chance against Leeds the other week but we said beforehand that if we can compete and keep the scores tight we might just get over the line - which is what we did.

“We spoke a lot in pre season about having a really strong squad and that game was the first acid test of that. The way the young lads handled one of the most high pressure games of the season will have given Nathan Brown plenty of food for thought.”

How does the class of 2014, who remain unbeaten, compare with some of the great Saints sides Wellens has played in?

“This is a different squad, which is still finding its feet. There’s a great mixture in the group though, senior players, players in their mid 20s and a good bunch of younger ones too. That’ll be key for continuity in the next few years.

“Winning breeds confidence, so the more games we win the better we’ll play. But one trait the great Saints sides I played in all had was to always remain focused on the next challenge. That’s key for this group too.

“We must continue to work hard if we want to earn the rewards.”