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Wellens playing for St Helens in 2010
27 February 1980 |
St. Helens, England
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Weight||14 st 9 lb (93 kg)|
|Source: Rugby League Project|
Paul Simon Wellens (born 27 February 1980) is a retired English professional rugby league footballer. A Great Britain and England national representative fullback, he played his entire career with St. Helens, with whom he won several Super League championships and Challenge Cup titles. Wellens also became only the third player to have won the Lance Todd Trophy, Harry Sunderland Trophy, and the Man of Steel Award.
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 became 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 from the interchange bench in their 1999 Super League Grand Final victory over Bradford Bulls.
Having won the 1999 Championship, St Helens 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 at fullback in their 2000 Super League Grand Final victory over Wigan, and in their 2001 World Club Challenge victory against the Brisbane Broncos.
Wellens played for St Helens at fullback in their 2002 Super League Grand Final victory against Bradford but was forced to leave the field after just two minutes with a broken cheekbone, which ruled him out of Great Britain's intentional series against New Zealand the following month. 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 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 Huddersfield. He was also awarded the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man of the match against Hull F.C. in 2006's Super League XI Grand Final. As 2006 Super League champions, St Helens faced 2006 NRL Premiers 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, in which Wellens scored 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 in Australia. In 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.
In 2014, Wellens made history by scoring the 1,000th point in his career. St. Helens reached the 2014 Super League Grand Final and Wellens captained them from fullback in what was a record-equalling 10th grand final appearance. Saints defeated Wigan Warriors 14-6 to win their first Super League title in 8 years, with Wellens lifting the trophy.
Following a failure to recover from a long-standing hip injury, Wellens announced his retirement from playing on 24 June 2015. In total he played 495 times for St Helens, in the process winning 5 Super League titles, 5 Challenge Cup winners medals, two World Club Challenges, the Man of Steel Award, the Lance Todd Trophy, the Harry Sunderland Trophy and was named in the Super League Dream Team on four occasions.
- "Paul Wellens". saintsrlfc.com. St. Helens. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
- Wellens injury saddens Sculthorpe
- Cartwright, Phil (11 October 2014). "St Helens v Wigan as it happened". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- Paul Wellens: St Helens legend retires aged 35 with hip injury
- Saints Heritage Society profile
- Wellens Saints Profile
- 2001 Ashes profile
- Wonderful Wellens Strikes Four Again
- Wellens Wins Man of Steel Award
- Wellens Wins England Call Up
- England Statistics at englandrl.co.uk
- Great Britain Statistics at englandrl.co.uk
- Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org
- Tri-Nations: Great Britain profiles