‘We beat ourselves’: Paul Wellens breaks down St Helens’ defeat to Catalans Dragons

ST HELENS will bounce back with positivity in the Challenge Cup this weekend following the disappointment of defeat in Perpignan.

That’s the belief of coach Paul Wellens who plans to get back to winning ways in Sunday’s home quarter-final clash against Warrington.

Wellens was frustrated by his side’s 14-8 Super League defeat to Catalans on Saturday night but he promised to oversee a positive response.

He told League Express: “We’re all really disappointed with losing but what this group tend to do really well is respond in a positive way to disappointment and I’ve got every confidence that we will do that this coming weekend.”

Saints were ahead for long periods at Stade Gilbert Brutus but failed to capitalise upon injuries to key opposition players during Saturday’s game and couldn’t score in the second half against a depleted Dragons’ side.

Wellens added after the match: “I thought in some ways we were the masters of our own downfall. And that’s not to take anything away from Catalans and the way they competed, given the disruption that they have had.

“But when you make as many errors as we did tonight and give away so many penalties, then you make it very difficult for yourselves wherever you go, never mind coming to a place like this.

“I don’t think we were particularly ill-disciplined in terms of our defence, it was more just messy stuff that kept releasing the pressure on the opposition, which is frustrating.

“We weren’t particularly poor in defence but we just had to do too much of it and we brought that upon ourselves.

“We showed up well in periods and we got tackled so many times just a metre from the line and Lewis Dodd gets held up in-goal. We had so many key moments in the game that we just didn’t take.

“I’m disappointed in our overall approach and I include myself in that, we all need to be better.”

Wellens will be looking for a more patient and composed approach against Warrington and he added, “When you play any big games you have to earn the right to compete and we came with a game plan tonight and we sensed there would be opportunities to get some joy.

“But we wanted to get that straight away and in tough environments against tough teams you’ve got to be patient enough to earn it.

“We got a bit too pass-happy early and we’d already spoken about evolving in a game but we ended up limiting the number of times we got possession of the ball.

“It feels like we beat ourselves and again I don’t want to take anything from the opposition but that is my overriding emotion.”

Wellens will be looking at the fitness of hooker Daryl Clark this week after he left the pitch in Perpignan with an apparent rib injury but reported no further major injury concerns from Saturday’s game.

He said he would take stock of the defeat following an impressive recent run of form and paid tribute to the St Helens supporters, 1,200 of them, who made the trip to Perpignan.

He said: “The one thing I’ve learned since taking this job is that when you are doing well you’re never probably as good as you think you are and, when you’re poor, you’re not as poor as you think you are.

“While I completely trust in the playing group and I can’t question how much they care because they show it every week, we have to be smarter in certain areas.

“It’s disappointing that we’ve lost a game and I feel for our supporters because they have travelled here in huge numbers again.

“We’re so grateful for their backing; they choose to spend their money and follow us abroad and we’re so grateful and thankful for that.

“We’re disappointed tonight that we didn’t give them what they deserved. It’s up to us to put it right this weekend.”