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How Paul Wellens intends to freshen things up at St Helens despite limited recruitment

St Helens are enjoying a golden era, but the toughest task when you’re at the top is staying ahead of the pack.

That’s what Saints must do if they are to extend their record breaking run of titles into a fifth season in 2023.

They will have to do so under a new coach as Saints legend Paul Wellens takes the reigns from Kristian Woolf.

However, anyone at the top of any sport will tell you that to stay at the top you have to keep things fresh.

Look at Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, he often changed his assistants around to keep things fresh at Old Trafford whilst now across the city at the Etihad Pep Guardiola always adds to his squad after every season even though it may seem unnecessary.

So, how do Saints go about doing this when their squad has been together for so long with very little expected in the way of incomings as Wellens himself said:

“There is room, Regan Grace moving to rugby union is a big loss for us so there is room to do something there, we have salary cap space to add but at the same time we don’t just bring a player to the club for the sake of it. They have to be the right fit so not just a good player but a good person as well.

“We will continue to look at the market and have discussions where they need to be had. If we go into next year with what we have then we’d be comfortable, a player like Jon Bennison I’d be happy to put him in that position and let him play.”

Meanwhile, Wellens himself and plenty of his staff have been at the club for years which makes some sort of new element vital.

This is why the appointment of France national coach and former Catalans boss Laurent Frayssinous was made, to bring a fresh pair of eyes to the club.

Wellens explained the appointment: “When I thought about bringing in an assistant coach, there were a few things I wanted really and one was I wanted someone who had Head Coach experience as I haven’t and Laurent has at Catalans.

“He’s someone who is really passionate about rugby, when I sat down and spoke with him the first think that struck me was his passion about rugby league.

“The last thing was, I was conscious that I had been promoted from within in and a lot of stuff around the club which have been here a long time, with a playing group that has also been together a long time, a fresh pair of eyes may be what the club needs.”

He is hoping that this will help liven up the Saints attack which has lived in the shadow of the Saints defence:

“It does excitement me, Laurent coming in as an assistant coach one of the tasks he’s been charged with is to look where he can develop our attack. I think we have got improvements there.

“We have been hampered there a lot this year, such as the loss of Lewis Dodd. When you lose a player like that it hurts your attack but we have got improvement in us.”

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