One of the greatest players in the history of Super League, St Helens fullback Paul Wellens, has today announced his retirement from Rugby League with immediate effect.
Here, some of the game’s leading names and figures pay tribute to Wellens after he revealed he needs hip surgery that will end his career..
Nathan Brown: “Paul will go down as one of the best club players of all time. His record of Grand Final and Challenge Cup successes speak for themselves and historically will mark him as one of the all time great players.
“When you ask me about Wello three things stand out – his toughness, will to win and leadership qualities.
“Above all Wello is a man of integrity and character who understands the importance of family. He is just an all round good bloke and there can be no higher accolade than that.”
Jon Wilkin: “There has been no greater friend and supporter of me than Paul Wellens. He is my best friend both on and off the field.
“You will not find a better family man with a strong sense of morals and decency than him. He sits above most people in that respect.
“The one thing he taught me is that time is an asset and very valuable. There is no one who has given his time and done more off the field for St Helens RFC and the sport than him. That is the measure of the man; he has contributed so much and given up so much for other people.
“He is a selfless man, with high integrity, a great moral compass and above hall a great friend.”
Keiron Cunningham: “Paul is simply one of the greatest players ever to pull on a Saints shirt. He has the respect of everyone around him and everyone loves and loved playing with him – me included.
“Last season on the way back from Catalans, after we lost Jonny Lomax, the coaches were disappointed and thought that our season was perhaps over. I said to them that Wello will win us trophies and that’s exactly what he did.
“We wanted him to go around again, such is his influence, but the rugby gods have tapped him on the shoulder. His influence on us and what we do is never going to be lost. That is a great thing about this place and the influence great players can have on the Saints without pulling a shirt on.
“His track record speaks for itself with how much he has won and that will never be lost. I wish him all the best.”
Daniel Anderson: “It is a real privilege to have coached him. I was fortunate enough to be able to watch him play, train, grow and develop as a player during his prime and achieve many personal and team accolades.
“Wello is a very intelligent, courageous and selfless player.
“I also don’t know of another rugby league player who drinks as much tea as he does.”