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“Conversations ongoing” – Paul Wellens reveals Tommy Makinson replacement and transfer plan

Tommy Makinson St Helens

St Helens are planning for life without Tommy Makinson after it was confirmed that the experienced winger will leave the club at the end of the season. Makinson has spent his entire career with the Saints, winning five Super League Grand Finals, a Challenge Cup and a World Club Challenge in the process.

Makinson will reportedly join the Catalans Dragons in the summer, replacing Wakefield bound, Tom Johnstone, in the South of France. Makinson has only represented Saints so far in his career, so the club faces a major transition. Waqa Blake joined the club in the off-season and has shone on the wing this season.

Speaking in his weekly press conference, Saints head coach, Paul Wellens, has provided an update on the club’s plans to replace Makinson. He has also revealed the latest on Blake’s contract situation.

St Helens boss outlines plan to replace Tommy Makinson

St Helens Tommy Makinson in action

Credit: Imago Images

Discussing how Saints plan to replace Makinson, Wellens believe that the club does not necessarily need to look to the transfer marker. He believes that there is a lot of talent within the youth set-up at Saints and they will be keen to stake a claim.

“It is a competitive market out there, but Tommy Makinson is still one of the best wingers in Super League and in some ways it becomes almost impossible to replace him.

“What we have got here at the club is some really young, exciting outside backs within the club who I’m sure will be very keen to stake a claim for that position and we’ll certainly be giving them the opportunity to do that.”

However, he did not rule out the possibility of looking externally for a replacement for Makinson, adding:

“But we’ll also be looking externally as well to see where we can fill that void. Those conversations are already ongoing but replacing a player of Tommy’s calibre is no easy task.”

Wellens gives update on Blake contract situation

Credit: Imago Images

Wellens also revealed that the the club is yet to discuss a new contract with Blake, despite Makinson’s impending departure. Instead, he wants Blake to focus on becoming more consistent in his all round game. Blake signed a one year deal for 2024 when joining the Saints in the off-season.

“We’ve not really had many discussions with his situation,” Wellens stated.

“The focus on him is to get consistency in his game. He’s made some really big improvements in recent weeks. Because he came in midway through pre-season, we had to be patient with him. He’s also come over here on his own, and that’s always a challenge.

“As the weeks go by, he’s getting that fitness base back, he’s a lot lighter and those improvements are showing in his performances.

“He’s a brilliant finisher, he took a lot of those tries extremely well and he carries the ball out of yardage well.”

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