Today St Helens confirmed who they see as the right man to turn their four consecutive titles into five in 2023 as the appointed their new Head Coach following the departure of Kristian Woolf to the Dolphins in 2023.
The man tasked with maintaining the legacy of this great Saints team which started with Justin Holbrook and was continued by Woolf is fittingly someone who has been around the club for the entirety of their recent success: Paul Wellens.
It was confirmed that Wellens, a St Helens legend and a treble winner with the club in 2006, had taken on a two-year deal as Head Coach after spending the better part of a decade as assistant coach at the club.
Wellens’ attention now immediately turns to 2023 and how he intends to retain Saints’ title for a fifth consecutive season and a big part of any Champion side is always recruitment.
Due to their recent success, Saints have had to do very little in the way of recruitment in recent years and for the most part that is set to be the same going into 2023, however for Wellens there is at least one obvious area to look at: the wing.
The Saints have lost Regan Grace as he takes on a new challenge in Rugby Union and although youngster Jon Bennison has done a terrific job on the flank for Saints in 2022 scoring in the Grand Final, Wellens says the Saints are on the look out but will only make the right signing: “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.”
Saints have been rumoured to be signing prolific Championship winger Tee Ritson as Grace’s replacement. However, this has yet to be confirmed.