Everything Paul Wellens said after St Helens defeat at Leigh

Paul Wellens St Helens News Images Credit: Alamy
Paul Wellens St Helens News Images Credit: Alamy

Paul Wellens spoke to the media following their second defeat in a row, which came at the hands of Leigh on Friday night.

The world champions failed to bounce back from their 25-24 loss to Leeds the previous week.

They were 12-0 to the good at half-time, but the Leopards scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to stun the Saints 20-12 at the Leigh Sports Village.

Here’s everything Paul Wellens said in his post-match press conference…

General thoughts

At the start of the game I thought we were totally dominant and in control, similar to last week. What always happens, particularly when you come to places like this, it’s important to stay in control. There are going to be periods where you are under pressure but we put ourselves under pressure far too many times tonight. When you are at a place like this and they bring the crowd in to the game and they start to sense a chance, then it becomes more and more difficult.

At the end our discipline let us down again – not just that incident (Matty Lees sin bin) by the way – there were a number of incidents but its one of those situations that if we don’t learn from it quickly, then we are going to find ourselves in the same predicament moving forward.

Paul Wellens praises Leigh

To their credit, they played really well. They challenged us with the ball and had determination and steel around how they wanted to defend and they made it really difficult for us.

We didn’t expect them to do anything different really. We watched them last weekend against Hull KR and we know how good of a side they are and how much of a challenge this was going to be, but we just didn’t handle certain thing as well as we needed to.

I thought we learned a few lessons from last week but there is still a lot more to learn and improve on moving forward.

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Matty Lees sin bin

It was a big moment in the game. Leesy is disappointed as you’d expect. The way he chases his kick is everything you want in a player so I find it hard to be too critical in that sense because he wanted to try to influence the result, but again, there is a line and the line was crossed with Leesy tonight and we paid the price.

Being 12-0 ahead at half-time

I thought we linked up really well in the first half with our ball movement. It was a great try for Jon Bennison doing exactly that but we just went away from it in the second half.

We didn’t have as much possession, particularly in their half of the field, but we looked disjointed and we weren’t on the same page. That’s something me and the coaching need to look at quickly so we know that when we are playing together that we are a threatening side.

Have you been surprised at the last two performances after winning in Australia?

My biggest concern around that is that you are playing in a huge game over there, it’s tight, its chaotic but there is composure and trust in each other and there is a willingness to just keep doing what’s needed and staying calm to get us over the line.

But what we’ve had over the last couple of weeks is a lack of composure and we’ve almost been flustered at times and we need to handle those situations better, which we have done in the past. The first place I’ve got to look at is myself and if there is anything else I can improve moving forward.

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Positives to take

Jake (Wingfield) has been good off the bench and Sam Royle playing 80 minutes in the back-row in his first game of the year and had good off the ball efforts, and James Bell did the same on the other side. They were guys stepping in for the others who were suspended. James Roby was a warrior again in the middle, he keeps turning up.

There are a few individual performances that are pleasing but I’m more concerned about the team performance. What happened tonight is that there were too many individual efforts rather than working as a team which we have built our success on.

Is there a hangover from the World Club Challenge?

The situation is what it is. We’ve got to quickly realise that if there is a hangover or isn’t a hangover, I don’t know the answer to that because its not something I’ve done before, but the situation isn’t changing. We’ve got a game next week, the week after and the week after that, so we’ve got to somehow as a team, I include myself in that and the staff as well, need to find a way to improve and get back to the standards that we’ve become accustomed to and the standards we set week on week because consistency has been a real strength of ours in recent years.

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