Super League: Paul Wellens aiming to make up for missing Manchester City celebrations with Magic Weekend victory at the Etihad over Warrington Wolves
Wellens is a passionate City fan and will lead out the Saints at the Etihad in the final match of the Magic Weekend on Sunday
Saturday 17 May 2014
Paul Wellens will be aiming to make up for the disappointment of missing his heroes' latest triumph when he leads St Helens out in the final match of Super League's Magic Weekend at Manchester's Etihad Stadium.
The former Great Britain full-back is a passionate Manchester City fan but while they were reclaiming their Barclays Premier League title with a 2-0 win over West Ham, he was helping Saints to a 50-0 victory at Bradford.
And he is hoping they can follow that up with a derby triumph over Warrington at the home of his favourite team on Sunday evening.
"Obviously I would have liked to have gone to the game but I certainly wouldn't have wanted to miss out on playing for Saints," Wellens said.
"So I gave my ticket away and my brother took my little lad and they enjoyed a great day and I did too. We had a great performance.
"I am looking forward to this game. It's obviously a great stadium and we really enjoy playing there. It's always a fantastic game against Warrington."
Wellens was especially keen not to miss out against the Bulls after coach Nathan Brown gave him a rare match off the previous week against London Broncos.
"I'd rather play but I sat down with Browny and we had a chat," said Wellens, who jointly with Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield holds the record for most Super League appearances and is expected to sign a new contract for 2015.
"He said 'it's a long season and a week off won't do you any harm' so I rested up, got rid of a few bumps and bruises and settled back into the team on Sunday.
"I think most players will tell you they'd rather be playing but sometimes you need to be protected from yourself."
Warrington are languishing in seventh place after winning just two of their last five matches but showed signs of regaining their touch with a 42-10 win over Catalan Dragons last week.
"They've had a lot of changes in personnel so it's been difficult for them, but certainly last week's performance against Catalan was a clear indication for me that they're moving in the right direction," Wellens said.
Warrington co-captain Michael Monaghan admits his side are still hurting from their 38-8 mauling by Saints in the opening match of the season.
"It was disappointing to start the season like that," he said. "We hadn't had a defeat like that for a while, in front of our home crowd as well, which was probably the most disappointing aspect of it.
"It won't be so much about revenge but restoring some pride after that performance."
The Saints-Warrington clash will bring down the curtain on the eighth Magic Weekend, with two West Yorkshire derbies getting the final day's action under way.
Six places separate Castleford and Wakefield but they go into the opening match on the back of contrasting form, and Wildcats boss Richard Agar believes his side may have turned the corner thanks to consecutive away wins over Hull and Widnes.
"It's funny how it changes," Agar said. "We had a tough trot of results but we never felt sorry for ourselves and, bit by bit, we've tried to get our season back on track.
"The defensive improvement over the last month is there for all to see and, although we've still got some major improvements with the ball, gradually we're finding half-back and hooking combinations that are working for us.
"We probably identified that by nine or 10 weeks in, we should be getting more familiar with each other and we're coming into fixtures where we do genuinely see opportunities to get our season going."
Castleford kick-started their 2013 campaign with a resounding 49-24 win over Wakefield at the Etihad and, under Daryl Powell, have not looked back since.
"Cas certainly look every inch a top-four side," Agar said. "I think they've been a real success story for the competition, playing to a consistently high standard every week.
"We were a bit out on our feet when this fixture came around last year. We feel we're in a bit better shape this time."
Huddersfield are boosted by the return of England forward Brett Ferres for their derby against Bradford as they look to extend their winning run to five matches.
Latest in Sport
Leicester City 5 Manchester United 3: Mario Balotelli and Gary Lineker lead the trolling of United
Police probe Mario Balotelli racist abuse as Kick It Out voice their displeasure
Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
Manchester City vs Chelsea match report: Frank Lampard shows no joy after denying Chelsea victory
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God