Paul Simon Wellens (born 27 February 1980) is an English multi-award–winning rugby league footballer. Wellens plays for St. Helens in the European Super League. Wellens is a Great Britain and England international. He has played for St Helens his whole career, operating almost exclusively at Fullback. Wellens became only the third player to have won the Lance Todd Trophy, Harry Sunderland Trophy, and the Man of Steel Award.
Early life [ edit ]
St Helens, Merseyside, Wellens was educated by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, along with his twin sister Claire. [ ] citation needed
Playing career [ edit ]
Wellens joined the
St. Helens ranks and made his Super League debut in the 1999 season. Success quickly followed and Wellens soon secured his place in perhaps St Helens strongest era. Wellens is renowned for his all round game, excelling particularly at taking catches. An England call up followed and with full back Kris Radlinski already established at international level, Wellens displayed his versatility with spells on the Wing and at Centre. A call up for Great Britain ensued, and he made a handful of appearances before being contentiously left out by then coach David Waite, who felt Wellens' form had dipped during this period. Wellens played for St Helens RLFC from the interchange bench in their 1999 Super League Grand Final victory over Bradford Bulls. [ ] citation needed
Having won the 1999 Championship,
St Helens RLFC contested in the 2000 World Club Challenge against National Rugby League Premiers the Melbourne Storm, with Wellens playing at hooker in the loss. Wellens played for St Helens RLFC at fullback in their 2000 Super League Grand Final victory over Wigan Warriors. He played for St Helens at fullback in their 2001 World Club Challenge victory against the Brisbane Broncos. [ ] citation needed
Wellens played for
St Helens RFC at fullback in their 2002 Super League Grand Final victory against the Bradford Bulls. With a point to prove, Wellens became one of Super League's most notable performers and made the number 1 jersey his own at international level. His attitude and aptitude to the game earned him a reputation as a model professional. As one of the quieter members of a squad littered with big names and personalities, it was all the more creditable that Wellens earned St. Helens player of the season award in 2004 to underline his value at Knowsley Road, establishing himself as one of the fans' favourites. Wellens was selected in the Great Britain team to compete in the end of season 2004 Rugby League Tri-Nations tournament. In the final against Australia he played at fullback in the Lions' 44-4 loss.
In the 2006 season which would see St Helens collect all three major honours at domestic level, Wellens' own form was to be rewarded with the Rugby League Writers' Association player of the year, Super League players' player of the year and the prestigious
Man of Steel Award. Wellens played for St Helens at fullback in their 2006 Challenge Cup Final victory against the Huddersfield Giants. He was also awarded the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man of the match against Hull in 2006's Super League XI Grand Final. As 2006 Super League champions, St Helens faced 2006 NRL Premiers the Brisbane Broncos in the 2007 World Club Challenge. Wellens played at fullback in the Saints' 18-14 victory.
In 2007 Wellens continued his form, but added another dimension to his game by becoming one of the league's top try scorers. This was highlighted in the
Millennium Magic weekend victory against rivals Wigan Warriors, in which Wellens bagged four tries. He was named in the end of season Super League Dream Team for the third season running. He also became joint winner of the Lance Todd Trophy] award in the 2007 Carnegie Challenge Cup final against the Catalans Dragons at Wembley Stadium, sharing the prize with Leon Pryce. In the 2008 Challenge Cup Final, Wellens retained the Lance Todd Trophy award.
Wellens was selected for the
England squad to compete in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup tournament in Australia. Group A's first match against Papua New Guinea he played at fullback in England's victory. In January 2009, Wellens played in his own testimonial match against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
In 2011, Wellens was named joint captain alongside
James Graham. Wellens is a Manchester City fan, and in May 2012 played in the match-up between St.Helens and Wigan in a heated local derby that Wigan won 42-16. Three players were sent off after a 26-man brawl at the Etihad Stadium as part of the Magic Weekend for 2012.
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