“We’ve got to keep our cool” Wellens says Saints indiscipline cost them

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

St Helens coach Paul Wellens wants his side to learn lessons from their agonising 25-24 defeat to Leeds, admitting their indiscipline cost them dearly.

A drop goal from Blake Austin in the final minute spoiled Saints’ homecoming party in front of a 15,000-strong crowd at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Back-rowers Sione Mata’utia and Curtis Sironen were both sin-binned for late hits before Konrad Hurrell was sent off for a late and high hit on Richie Myler just before Austin’s drop goal.

Speaking after the game, Wellens said: “I think certain aspects of our game weren’t there tonight.

“In periods we lacked a bit of concentration and in the back end of the game we lacked some discipline and composure, which is very unlike us, particularly in big games. There are some key areas that we need to fix up and I’m confident that we can.

“When you do lose games like this it is about finding where you can improve from and channel your disappointment in a positive way.

“We’ve got to keep our cool in those types of moments and we didn’t quite do that tonight and it’s uncharacteristic in many respects”

“It’s a valuable lesson that we need to learn from because we know we’re a good side and tough to beat but we make ourselves easier to beat when we’re in that frame of mind for periods in that game.

“We didn’t get the rub of the green in certain situations which could have had a baring on the result but that’s completely out of our hands now. All we can do is move forward as a team and try to improve off the back of this. If things go differently then we are in the changing rooms singing the team song but maybe that would’ve painted over a few cracks, so there is a great learning opportunity here if we are prepared to take it.”

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Paul Wellens to seek clarity from RFL

The Saints boss said he will seek clarity from the Rugby Football League’s Match Officials department following the controversial decision late on in the game involving Jack Welsby and Sam Walters. The St Helens full-back was penalised for running in after an alleged shoulder charge from Leeds forward Walters.

The penalty went in Leeds’ favour and the Rhinos then went on to win the game thanks to Austin’s one-pointer. St Helens would have had the opportunity to kick at goal from 35 metres out if it had gone in Saints’ favour.

Wellens, who praised the Rhinos on their display after the game, said he would seek clarity about the incident this week.

He added: “I suppose one thing I need to do there with the referees, and I’m hoping there is a line of communication, is to get some clarity over what tackles are and aren’t allowed.

“We’ve got players in our team that like to play the game a certain way and really physically and if that type of tackle is allowed, then I’ll teach my players to do it. If it’s not, then we should’ve got a penalty. I’ll get some clarity on that in the week and that’s all I can say on the matter really.”

Card incidents

On the three cards shown to his side, Wellens replied: “I thought the first one with Sione with inside pressure, they need to make an attempt to tackle and I thought there was a clear attempt to tackle. I’d have to look at it all again and more in depth but discipline at times was a real problem for us last season and it was a real problem out there again tonight. There’s no excuses, we’ll look at where we can improve because those decisions will continue to get made if we want to put ourselves in those positions.”

St Helens will aim to return to winning ways when they travel to newly-promoted Leigh next Friday. And Wellens wants to see a response in discipline from his players.

He said: “There were clear signs of frustration there throughout the game and that’s probably one of the areas where we needed to be better.

“We needed to handle that frustration and channel that frustration in a positive way. The response we got tonight, which was very unlike us, so we need to learn from it.”

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