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Jon Wilkin bemused by Paul Wellens situation at St Helens

St Helens Jon Wilkin Paul Wellens

Former St Helens captain Jon Wilkin has questioned why there has seemingly been no movement on a new contract for current Red Vee boss Paul Wellens in spite of the club currently leading Super League.

Saints hammered Leeds Rhinos last night 40-10 in a game that has piled the pressure on Rohan Smith and released some on Paul Wellens. Despite St Helens’ impressive start to the season that has seen them end Wigan’s winning run and sit atop the table, there have been questions.

The majority of those questions were about the St Helens attack and how blunt they can be at times with the methodical approach something that most teams have been able to defend against

That’s been evident by the fact that of the Saints’ opening eleven games, they’d only averaged 16.375 points against teams outside of the bottom three. By contrast, in games against the bottom three, the Saints had scored an average of almost 53 points.

Victory against Leeds dispelled that as they racked up 40 points to go top of Super League and release some of that pressure on Paul Wellens, however, will it lead to a new contract with the St Helens boss off-contract at the end of the season?

Should Paul Wellens be handed a new contract at St Helens?

Paul Wellens St Helens

Credit: Imago Images

Jon Wilkin certainly seems to think that his fellow former St Helens captain has done enough to earn a new contract despite the pressure, claiming that pressure is simply a privilege of that job.

Speaking pre-match on Sky Sports, he said: “I find it strange that it’s not been discussed in the public forum. You’d think it’d be out there but we don’t know the conversations.

“It could well be well on behind the scenes and it’s just not been talked about but the fact remains, if you’re the St Helens head coach then you’re under pressure all the time. He’ll be under pressure now as much as he was when he started.”

Wilkin would even suggest that the pressure is about to be ramped up further as he challenged Wellens to earn the new deal by re-establishing St Helens as the dominant team to beat alongside Matt Peet’s Wigan.

He suggested: “The biggest period of his coaching career is the next three months. For me, it’s got to see them going from second with a group of teams, to being up there as Wigan and Saints both clear at the top.

“They need to be really pushing for in the next 12 weeks to be in that situation because it just quietens down all the murmurings that the fans who have got any doubt, and any doubt that the club have got about him.”

The weight of the Saints head coaching gig

St Helens sack Cunningham

Credit: Imago Images

As one of English Rugby League’s most successful clubs, there is always going to be pressure on the St Helens job. That is true of all dominant teams, as Rohan Smith is finding out right now with calls that he’s not at the level of such a huge club.

If Paul Wellens goes another year without silverware then those conversations could even start regarding him, such is the expectation at that club.

That’s despite the fact that he is a club legend on the pitch, he still has plenty to prove off the pitch as a coach. One man who found that out was Keiron Cunningham, another former St Helens captain who was sacked despite having been at the club for 24 years as a player and coach.

When asked why there would be doubt over Wellens’ future as St Helens head coach, it was Cunningham that Wilkin pointed to, arguing: “There’s a statue of Keiron Cunningham over there who’s a club legend. Of course, there’s going to be a comparison.

“It is sensible for there to be a comparison. The fans don’t understand the difference and the detail that Paul has put into his coaching career.

“I’ll say this, he is a fantastic young coach and should be given time, but sport’s not sentimental, is it? We know that.”

Does it mean that the longer the wait for contract news goes on, the higher the pressure valve increases?

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. DD Dowd

    May 26, 2024 at 12:30 am

    Of course he should have his contract extended We are top of the league end of No decision needed

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