Hope that silverware will spark success

Paul Wellens
Paul Wellens

Paul Wellens is hoping the end of the club’s barren run can help spark another era of Super League success.

Saints’ six-year wait for silverware was brought to an end when Castleford, the only team that could have pipped them to the League Leaders’ Shield, went down 28-6 to Catalan Dragons in Perpignan on Saturday night.

Saints, who were champions four times in the first seven years of Super League, were forced to play a nervous waiting game after losing their last two games of the regular season.

The Tigers went into their final game two points adrift but with a superior points difference and would have gained a first top-table finish in their 88-year history had they beaten the Dragons.

“We are obviously delighted to secure the league leaders shield despite winning it in unfamiliar circumstances,” said Wellens, who was in the Saints team that did the double in 2006 and won the League Leaders’ Shield in 2008. “It’s the first time I’ve won a trophy sitting in my living room.

“It’s great reward for our group of players, a lot of whom haven’t had the experience of winning a trophy and we hope it can be the catalyst for many more moving forward.

“I would personally like to thank our fantastic supporters who’ve been right behind us throughout the year and that great support was no more evident than at Huddersfield on Friday.

“We’ve now turned our attention to the play-offs and look forward to the challenges ahead whilst knowing we can rely on our fans to get behind us on the way.”

Saints’ reward is a guaranteed place in the expanded World Club Series in February as well as a home tie in Friday’s qualifying play-off game against Castleford when they will be presented with the Shield.

l James Roby picked up two major awards at Saints’ annual presentation night on Monday.

The hooker was named as player of the year and players’ player of the year.

Skipper Paul Wellens was runner-up in the player of the year category, as well as collecting the founder members player of the year accolade.

Winger Matty Dawson was chosen as the young player of the year with centre Mark Percival taking the founder members young player of the year prize.

Other winners were: Lewis Charnock (U19s player of the year) and Josh Eaves (U16s scholarship player of the year).