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Wellens praises “iconic” display from star man and likens it to Super League legends

St Helens head coach Paul Wellens

Last night St Helens showed the steal of Champions to pick up a win against Huddersfield Giants.

This was despite the fact that Sione Mata’utia went off after 25 seconds to a head knock.

This forced coach Paul Wellens to change a few things in terms of how he balanced his substitutes.

This led Matty Lees to playing the full 80 minutes and making a huge 68 tackles.

After the game Paul Wellens described the display as “iconic” and compare it to that of Super League legends.

Wellens said:

“James Bell has played a lot of back row for us and he’s comfortable out there but what it did do was put a lot of pressure on our middles rotations with Louis coming on the field so early, hence Matty Lees playing 80 minutes out in the middle.

“I never came into tonight thinking that a middle player would have to do that but the longer the game went on I just never saw signs of Matty slowing down.

“I thought I may as well keep him out there, but thankfully the players have got a few days off now because I think whilst they all need it, in particularly Matty.

“I’ve just spoke to the team in there and I’ve singled Matty out for praise, I’m delighted with everyone of the 17 tonight but when a middle forward goes out and racks up those kind of numbers.

“It’s not just the number of tackles but when he’s kick pressuring their half-backs in the 78th minute in the same fashion as he was in the first, I think that says everything about Matty Lees and his fitness levels and energy.

“I think back over the history of Super League and your front rowers like James Graham and Stuart Fielden who used to be able to go out there and perform for 80 minutes. That performance is as iconic as some of those.

“Matty is a player that we love and respect and he makes us a much better team and the evidence of his performance tonight backs that up.”

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