Paul Wellens hopes to pull another win out of hat on Magic Weekend

After adapting to new role Saints captain is ready to lead team to second straight victory

Paul Wellens has entered some unfamiliar territory with St Helens this season, but is back on his favourite stage for Super League’s Magic Weekend at the Etihad Stadium.

Saints have been in uncharted waters in the bottom half of the table whilst their captain, after more than a decade as their established  full-back, has been obliged to explore the mysteries of half-back.

Today, however, the lifelong Manchester City fan will be doing what he does best, leading from the back in a Saints team which has remembered how to win again.

The 33-20 victory at Leeds on Monday night has enabled them to head into this evening’s clash against Warrington with renewed confidence.

“It was a massive win for us,” said Wellens. “For the last six or seven weeks things haven’t been going right for us, but I always knew we were going to turn things round.”

Before that vital win at Headingley, Saints’ previous victory had been on 1 April. “Even when we were losing, the one thing that heartened me was the way these young lads have come through,” he said.

Players like Tom Makinson and Mark Percival in the back line and Alex Walmsley and Luke Thompson in the pack have all been promoted during the club’s injury crisis.

“They’ve all played far more games than they can have expected, but they’ve done really well,” Wellens  said. “It’s great when someone like Alex can come from the Championship to Super League and do so well.”

It was the emergence of another young player that forced Wellens to rethink his role in the team earlier this season after injury. “I have a great relationship with [St Helens coach] Nathan Brown and when he told me he wanted to play Jonny Lomax at full-back, I had to agree with him.”

Not that the Saints coach wanted Wellens out of the team; Brown says  he is the first man picked, albeit in unfamiliar positions. “I’ll slot in anywhere they need me,” Wellens said.

In total seven matches will be played at the Etihad for Magic Weekend. The other mouth-watering contest today is between Hull and Hull KR, while the pick of tomorrow’s programme pits leaders Wigan against a wounded Leeds, who have been knocked out of the Challenge Cup over the last fortnight. “They’ll be smarting. It’s probably the worst time to be playing Leeds,” said the Wigan coach, Shaun Wane.

He might have to move Sam Tomkins back to his original position of stand-off in the absence of first-choice half-backs Blake Green and Matty Smith.

Wane’s future is uncertain after he confirmed that he has had informal talks with the New Zealand Warriors. “I want to stay at Wigan. I love it here,” he said. “But my contract is up at the end of this season, nothing has been said. I have to look to my future.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence