Paul Wellens tells Morgan Knowles and St Helens’ players to behave – or else


MORGAN Knowles has been told to shape up in terms of discipline – or he may find himself shipped out of St Helens.

And boss Paul Wellens says the days of him being soft are over, the England ace has to cope with being a ‘marked man.’

St Helens coach Paul Wellens has told his players he has been too soft on their disciplineSWPIX.COM

The loose forward was handed a two-match suspension after being sent off in the Challenge Cup tie at Halifax, as he came back from a five-game punishment.

And after being hit with a fifth such sanction since last year’s Grand Final, boss Wellens has had enough – saying he ‘pretty much’ told him, ‘I think you’re the best forward in Super League but you’re no use to me in the stands.’

He said: “Morgan knows what I’ve thought of him for a long time. He made his debut the year after I retired and I’d have loved to have played alongside him.

“But he’s got to stay disciplined. He’s too valuable a player to be sat in the stands and we’re a less effective team with him in it.

“The consequences are pretty evident. The first one is they’ll be sat watching and no player wants that, players get paid to be out there and contributing.

“There has to be consequences as ultimately, it’s poor performance when you get those things wrong – we need a different standard and mindset around approaching these situations moving forward.

“I feel we’re in a much better place but we can speak about it, it comes down to actions.”

Wellens is in his first year as coach after being an assistant following a legendary playing career at Saints.

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And he admitted his attitude towards players crossing the disciplinary line is changing.

Knowles, and other Saints players, have been warned about their disciplineSWPIX.COM

He added: “Maybe I haven’t been strong enough or got the message across clearly enough in terms of what is and isn’t expected from a Saints player.

“On reflection, I don’t feel like I’ve been strong enough. What I want from here on in is the players to take responsibility.

“I wouldn’t want to swap Morgan for anyone but there are aspects of his game he needs to clean up. We’ve a number of players who like to play ‘on the edge’ but if you do, discipline is the most important thing.

“On too many times this year, we’ve not just gone over the line but way beyond it.  This was an opportunity to draw a line in the sand on what I expect.”

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