St Helens captain Paul Wellens 'excited' by fresh challenge despite the captain losing his starting berth

Wellens was handed the number 17 shirt for the 2014 season after losing his full-back place to Jonny Lomax last season

Former Great Britain full-back Paul Wellens is in danger of becoming Super League's first non-playing captain but that will not diminish his enthusiasm as he prepares for his 17th season with St Helens.

The Saints skipper, who turns 34 next month, started games at loose forward and stand-off since losing his full-back spot to Jonny Lomax last summer and spent the last nine games of the season on the bench.

That situation is unlikely to improve after he was handed the number 17 jersey by coach Nathan Brown but Wellens is determined to make the most of his new utility role.

"I'm excited by the challenge," Wellens said at the club's pre-season media day at Langtree Park.

"If you look at the strength in depth of the team, I think it's as strong as it's been for a number of years. I am just focusing on working hard, getting myself in the right condition and putting myself in a position to make the 17.

"I've spoken with Nathan at length numerous times and playing that utility role is something I feel I can do and do quite well.

"Prior to me nailing down that number one shirt many years ago, it was something I did a little bit of.

"Where I've got an an advantage this year is that I've got a full pre-season preparing myself to play numerous roles, which I feel will certainly benefit me. It won't be quite as alien to me as it was last year.

"I've always said the same since I was a young kid at the club - wherever I'm asked to play, I'll play. It doesn't really bother me." .

Brown, whose side finished a disappointing fifth in his first season, has strengthened his squad with the addition of a specialist scrum-half in Australian Luke Walsh and three giant-sized forwards in Mose Masoe, who will miss the first two games after undergoing ankle surgery, Kyle Amor and Richard Beaumont.

Walsh will form the playmaking triangle with stand-off Lance Hohaia and England hooker James Roby but Wellens will provide useful back-up for all three players.

"Wello can play a number of spots for us," Brown said. "He provides utility value for us in key positions.

"Obviously he can play full-back which we're well aware of and he's done a lot of training in pre-season at hooker and stand-off but, for me, one of the big things with Wello is that his leadership capabilities are first-class."

PA

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

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?