Connect with us

St Helens

“I was shocked” – Paul Wellens condemns St Helens players for controversial tactic

St Helens coach Paul Wellens

St Helens head coach Paul Wellens has revealed what “shocked” him and made him question his side’s desire in their Challenge Cup loss.

Saints were soundly beaten 31-8 at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Sunday by Warrington Wolves in their quarter-final tie, and Wellens was clearly very disappointed with his side’s performance.

Speaking after the game in a presser available to watch on SaintsTV, one of his key issues seemed to be a perceived lack of desire within his players.

He said: “What we’ve got to understand is that teams don’t come here now and roll over and have their bellies tickled.

“You’ve got to earn everything. So if that is for 10 minutes rolling your sleeves up and the opponents are flying off the line, be prepared to get whacked. That’s the game.

“We haven’t got quite enough of that at the moment. Instead, we force a pass or are not quite nailing a play, it matters. “Particularly when you accumulate them all together.”

St Helens lacking “calm” as Wellens bemoans approach

Whilst the final scoreline read 31-8, it was a very close game for the first 50 minutes before the floodgates opened and that was in part because St Helens failed to complete sets and gain territory.

Instead the Red Vee tried to force plays as Wellens referenced and he’s argued that senior players should know better: “We’ve got a lot of experienced players out there to give the team some direction, particularly when you’re out there in the heat of battle.

“You need cool heads, you need calmness, you need clarity.

“I thought what we did today was we looked like we were just continuously trying to chase points.

“That wasn’t what was required in the situation, particularly when it was 13-8. Obviously, we’ve made it much more difficult for ourselves because I think we lacked patience today.”
Warrington Wolves celebrate scoring against St Helens.

Credit: Imago Images

Short kicks have been used by Rohan Smith’s Leeds Rhinos side to good effect at times this season, including two weeks ago against Warrington.

However, at one point in the game, a short drop-out from St Helens didn’t pay off and allowed James Harrison to extend Wire’s lead.

Wellens said: “Well, I was shocked that at 18 minutes to go, we went for a short kick-off.

“That’s not us. I’m not saying that’s a poor tactic. Some teams do it, some teams don’t. We don’t.

“We kick the ball longer, we’re aggressive in D, we work hard, we get the ball back on the floor, we come after them again.

“With 18 minutes to go and you need two tries then you don’t need to be going for short kick-offs in my opinion.

“But I thought that was a sign of where we were as a team. We almost wanted things to come a bit easy.”

St Helens face Hull FC at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday at 8pm.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Must See

More in St Helens