Grand Final countdown: Paul Wellens knows all about the agony and ecstasy of Old Trafford

The sweetest moment ... Grand Final success in 2014 for captain Paul Wellens and his St Helens side.
The sweetest moment ... Grand Final success in 2014 for captain Paul Wellens and his St Helens side.

No one has experienced more highs and lows on Super League Grand Final night than one-club man Paul Wellens - now a member of the backroom staff at St Helens.


Five wins at the Theatre of Dreams since 1999 will remain firmly fixed in his memory for the rest of his life but the same number of defeats in this period are best forgot - four at the hands of Leeds Rhinos and the other against deadly rivals Wigan Warriors.

That's why assistant coach Wellens - an integral part of the Saints' set up during the past 22 years - will play a vital role in the build up to the club's Old Trafford showdown on Saturday with Salford Red Devils.

Only the likes of Leeds Rhinos/Bradford Bulls forward Jamie Peacock (a finalist 11 times between 2001 and 2015) can match Wellens' in-depth knowledge about the ups and downs of sudden death football at the final hurdle and it goes without saying that he will be on hand, if needed, to pass on his advice and useful tips to the players on what lies ahead - some of whom will be making their Grand Final debuts.

The 39-year-old former full back, who pulled on the famous red vee jersey 495 times in a trophy-ladened career, said: ''The squad know they can call upon me and others for any advice they may require.

"You are always there to chat to players if you need to, but a lot prepare for games in their own way now.

''We are a tight group and we all know there are people here to call upon if anyone has any advice and I am no different.''

He added: “We are very confident we can get the win, but at the same time we know it is about performing on the day. I have been in teams that have won and lost finals and it’s when you take the focus off performances is when you come unstuck so we are focused on delivering.”

His fondest memory?. That came in 2014 when he captained Saints to a 14-6 victory over Wigan after they had lost five finals on the bounce.

''It was an honour to lead out my home town team and to lift the trophy after those defeats made it an extra special occasion for me.''