Super League: Paul Wellens delighted with St Helens new boys
Last Updated: 11/02/14 3:48pm
Luke Walsh: scrum-half signed from Penrith Panthers
Veteran St Helens full-back Paul Wellens reckons the Saints are better placed to challenge for honours than they have been for many years.
St Helens have not won a trophy since 2008 and last season finished outside the top three for the first time since 2004.
Wellens admits there is pressure on the players to change that in 2014.
He told Sky Sports: "Playing for Saints there is always pressure. Saints are a big club and we expect to win trophies. Our chairman does, our coach does, our supporters do too. We as players have to live up to that expectation.
"This season we are in a better position than we have been for a long time. We are also mindful, though, that there are a lot of very good teams in the competition.
"Last year's champions Wigan will take some displacing, and Warrington, Leeds and Huddersfield, who were impressive the other night, are also in the mix. The really interesting one is Salford. With the investment there under Dr Marwan Koukash it will be interesting to see how they develop."
The 33-year-old Wellens has played 457 games for Saints since making his debut in 1998 and has been impressed by the club's off-season signings.
"For a number of years now we've been going through a little bit of a transitional period. We've lost a lot of very important players but I think recruitment in the off-season has been fantastic."
Richard Beaumont joinwed from Hull KR, Kyle Amor from Wakefield and Matty Dawson from Huddersfield, while coach Nathan Brown made two signigs from the NRL - Mose Masoe and Luke Walsh both signing from Penrith.
Wellens added: "They've settled in very well. The difficultly with a lot of overseas signings comes in settling into the environment.
"They've often come from 30 degree heat. But our guys have fitted in well and are training well. Hopefully, the way they've settled in can transfer onto the field.
"For a number of years now we've been going through a little bit of a transitional period.
"We've lost a lot of very important players but I think recruitment in the off-season has been fantastic.
"Luke Walsh as a scrum-half - that's one position that really has plagued us over the last few years. In Luke we've someone who can direct us around the park and take a lot of the pressure off the guys around him."
St Helens begin their campaign at fierce local rivals Warrington on Thursday, live on Sky Sports 1HD (7.30pm).