Key duo already back in training for St Helens

Pre-season is underway for the upcoming 2023 campaign and reigning four-time consecutive champions St Helens are one of those welcoming back their crop of players in order to go again.

Saints have been utterly dominant in recent years and were particularly special under Kristian Woolf, who has left to be ex-England boss Wayne Bennett’s assistant with NRL new boys The Dolphins.

Replacing Woolf was always going to be difficult but the Red Vee have gone with someone who’s bound to be popular with the fans in former playing legend and former assistant coach Paul Wellens.

In a clip posted by Saints to their twitter feed, Wellens spoke on how his first pre-season as head coach is going.

“To have those guys back on the field (Lewis Dodd and Alex Walmsley), obviously Doddie is only young but he’s got a fair bit of experience and obviously Alex has been playing the game for a long time.

“For young players to be able to learn off them, we can only do much as coaches but sometimes being out on the field with the more experienced players is where they’ll get the best learning experiences.”

St Helens sent nine players to the recently ended World Cup which means that their current crop of players in training are predominantly younger and more inexperienced members of the team.

As such the return of Alex Walmsley, who missed the World Cup and season’s conclusion with a foot injury, has been monumental to help Wellens, with the 245-time Saints stalwart delighted to be back.

“It’s cliche but it’s always good to get amongst it with the boys,” said Walsmley. “I know a lot of the boys aren’t yet back from international duties.

“It’s been a tough few weeks but after the off-season its nice to get back and get back into a routine, and it’s good to get going again.”

Walmsley will commence his 10th season for the reigning champions when the season starts in February, but first he’ll be part of a playing squad heading down under to face Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge.

The prop forward also recently reversed the roles and put Wellens through his paces in a charity match raising money for the Steve Prescott Foundation as part of Walmsley’s Testimonial year.

Walmsley called the plays from the sideline whilst former Saints stars, including Wellens, represented ‘Team Big Alex’ with former playing rivals such as Ben Westwood and Adrian Morley representing ‘Team SPF’.

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