ST HELENS head coach Paul Wellens has outlined his confidence at keeping one of his main stars at the Super League club beyond 2023.
That man is forward Sione Mata’utia, who played a key role in Saints’ 48-6 demolition of Huddersfield Giants at the Magic Weekend after being picked at prop and then moved to the back-row later on.
Wellens, however, sees Mata’utia as someone who could play anywhere in the pack.
“What I don’t want to do is pigeon hole Sione there (in the back-row),” Wellens said.
“Originally, when we brought him to the club he was someone who could play in the middle and also on the edge so I see a bit of flexibility with Sione.
“The biggest compliment I could pay him is he’s not bothered about his position.
“He’s just happy to get out there and happy to compete and I think he’s equally as effective anywhere he plays.”
Mata’utia has been linked with a move back to the NRL in recent months, but Wellens believes that the Merseyside club are in the driving seat when it comes to his future.
“Yeah I am confident (of keeping Mata’utia) – talks have been positive,” Wellens said.
“Obviously Sione needs to sort out in his own head whether it is the right decision.
“There are numerous factors he needs to think about but it is just really important that we allow Sione that time.
“He is a really important, brilliant player and a really respected member of the group and because he is all of those things. We need to be patient and give him that time.”