‘The best chance’ - St Helens boss Paul Wellens reacts after later twist in title race

Only four matches remain of the regular season but the destiny of the League Leaders’ Shield is still in the melting pot.
St Helens coach Paul Wellens. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.St Helens coach Paul Wellens. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.
St Helens coach Paul Wellens. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Table-toppers Catalans Dragons (34 points) lead what is seemingly a three horse race between themselves, Wigan Warriors (32) and defending champions St Helens (32).

The battle royal for pole position in the Betfred Super League at the end of round 27 - and the honour of picking-up the leaders’ trophy - took a significant twist on Saturday night when Wigan travelled to the south of France and demolished the Dragons 34-0 - a scoreline St Helens’ boss Paul Wellens, players and fans would never dreamed was on the cards.

Now the defending champions will set their sights on relegation-haunted Wakefield Trinity at Belle Vue on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).

“Every game is vital for us now,” declared the head coach. “What we need to do is concentrate on each one because we’ve got some very difficult challenges ahead. If we have confidence in ourselves we have the best chance of finishing in the top two.”

Wellens also praised his side’s continued response to a disappointing Challenge Cup semi-final exit to Leigh when they toppled Castleford Tigers 34-4 at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Friday - their fifth victory on the bounce.

“We lost a big game just over a month ago in the Challenge Cup semi-final and the response of the players has been huge, particularly when we’ve been missing key players.

“I thought we were outstanding in the first 40 minutes at Castleford and after that there are lessons that can still be learned because when you do take your foot off the gas, you get punished, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Fixtures which lie ahead for the top three:

  • Dragons: Hull KR (a), Wakefield Trinity (h), Leeds Rhinos (h), Salford Red Devils (a).
  • Wigan: Salford (h), Leeds (a), Castleford (h), Leigh (a).
  • Saints: Wakefield (a), Leigh (h), Warrington Wolves (a), Hull FC (h).

Some fans may include Leigh in the race but with matches at St Helens and Wigan still on the agenda, it may be a bridge too far in their quest to lift the League Leaders’ Shield, but a place in the play-offs is well within their compass.