St Helens boss Paul Wellens gives verdict on players’ union as he backs Alex Walmsley’s decision to speak out

ST HELENS head coach Paul Wellens has backed rugby league players’ calls for a players’ union as well as Alex Walmsley’s decision to speak out on the subject.

Walmsley wrote a piece in Rugby League Live earlier in the week calling for greater player representation within the game.

In contrast to the NRL which has the Rugby League Players’ Association, Super League has no conglomerate of players – something which Walmsley and a number of other players are keen to change.

For Wellens, he has given his full backing to his prop forward.

“First of all, Alex spoke to me wanting to say his piece there and having had such a long career and being in the game for such a long time, he is a player that is held in the highest regard amongst his peers,” Wellens said.

“He is in a good place as any to voice his thoughts on the game. I would never tell our players that they can’t do that, particularly with it coming from the right place.

“The game over here has lacked a strong players’ union, I even felt the same at the back end of my career for it to progress in the right way.

“I’m hugely supportive of Alex for his right to come out and speak about it.”

Wellens echoed Walmsley’s thoughts, with it being a difficult task to break habits of a lifetime.

“Players have behaviours that have built up over a period of time. It’s a habit, we need to change habits – or redefine them.

“It’s been so far so good for us in terms of our discipline but we will be challenged and it’s something that we can’t ever think we are in the right place wight.

“Every week you are challenged with going out there and doing it again, it will be difficult.”

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