Wellens plans to play for another year

Paul Wellens has filled a number of roles this season for Saints
Paul Wellens has filled a number of roles this season for Saints
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Saints skipper Paul Wellens is becoming accustomed to breaking records.

Already this year he has broken Keith Senior’s Super League appearance record and whizzed past the 1,000-point barrier.

But there could be more to come from the evergreen 34-year-old as he has revealed that he plans to play on for one more year.

He said: “I’ve pretty much made it clear that I’m good to go around again for another year. I’ve only missed one game and that was at London where I was reluctantly rested.

“I’m feeling great and the staff look after me. I’ve still got a lot to offer.”

Wellens, who for years turned out for Saints almost exclusively at full-back, has adapted his game to play in various different positions in the last 18 months.

But he admits he has enjoyed the new challenge in the twilight of his playing career.

“In some respects, the situation with injuries and having to play in different positions has been good for me as I can showcase what I’m capable of,” he said.

“At the start of the year, I was doing 20 or 30 minutes off the bench but I enjoy the added responsibility of playing in the halves or going back to full-back for seven or eight weeks.

“There’s been a few positions - loose forward, halves, full back, back row, I even did a stint at prop at Warrington. But I haven’t asked for a pay rise. I didn’t want to give Mike Rush or Eamonn McManus palpitations!

“It’s what’s come my way but it’s a challenge and you learn so much from the experience.”

Wellens, who plans to go into coaching when his playing career’s over, added: “They say that sometimes you have to walk around in someone else’s shoes to experience what they go through. I’ve walked in a few people’s shoes this year but it will help me moving forward.

“It’s been different. That defensive side when you’re with the big boys in the middle is a real eye opener. I’ve never done it consistently before.

“I said to Keiron Cunningham recently, ‘Mate, I owe you some apologies over the years. It’s not that easy!’”

Wellens also backed Saints to go all the way in the play-offs, despite suffering season-ending injuries to playmakers Luke Walsh, Jon Wilkin and Jonny Lomax.

He said: “We’ve had to come up with a different system to play with. We’ve had to rip up the play book in some respects and condense all the work we’d normally do on combinations in a two to three week period. It’s not ideal but needs must.

“But everyone has really embraced it and things are coming together.”