Wellens wise to the challenge

Veteran skipper Paul Wellens is confident in Saints' young turks' ability to perform under pressure
Veteran skipper Paul Wellens is confident in Saints' young turks' ability to perform under pressure

Paul Wellens says he will use every ounce of his vast experience to bring the Super League trophy to Langtree Park.

The evergreen Saints skippers is one of only four Saints players with experience of the Old Trafford cauldron.

But he believes Saints’s heady mix of youth and wise old heads will prove a winning combination on Saturday.

Wellens, who will be playing in his 10th Grand Final and set to equal the record of Leeds Rhinos and former Bradford Bulls prop Jamie Peacock, said: “We are very much a new group and a new team and at this moment in time only myself, James Roby, Tommy Makinson and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook have featured in previous Grand Finals.

“We have been rebuilding over the past few years and coach Nathan Brown has been a key figure in this development.

“His work can’t be under-estimated in any shape of form and he will leave us at the end of the season to return to Australia with all the lads and staff wishing him the best of luck for the future.”

Wellens will pull on a Saints’ shirt for the 491st time on Saturday but is hell-bent of passing the magical 500 milestone before he eventually hangs up his boots.

The club skipper will sit down over a cup of tea with chairman Eamonn McManus once the dust has settled on this season’s Grand Final and discuss a further 12 months extension of his current contract.

At the age of 34, he is in the twilight of a glitttering and trophy-filled career with his home-town club but still feels he has something to offer as a playing member of staff

prospective. and can point to his almost unrivalled CV to prove the point.

It reads: Man of Steel, Lance Todd and Harry Sunderland Trophy winner, five-times Challenge Cup victor, possessor of five Super League Grand Final rings, success in the World Club Challenge and a table-topper at the end of the regular season in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2014.

A new man will be at the helm next year and will inherit a squad which can only get better and Wello wants to be part of it, hopefully having steered his home-town club to their fifth Old Trafford triumph since 1999.

“As our chairman said last week, we are very much a club looking forward and not back. We are focusing all our energies on performing well on Saturday evening,” he added.