Paul Wellens and Jon Bennison hail the drive that makes St Helens Trophy Town | The Sun

PAUL Wellens and Jon Bennison hope to see a silver lining as St Helens return to Trophy Town.

The World Club champions take to their home turf for the first time since becoming immortals in Australia, adding to their four straight Super League titles.

But it is not just in rugby league the area stands proud. World darts champion Michael Smith normally stands behind the posts and England footballer Conor Coady hails from the town.

Throw in huge glass making firms and the coal industry, which the town is essentially built on, and an area on Liverpool’s doorstep certainly punches above its weight.

Add pharmaceutical giant Beechams, which launched there, and personalities like comedian Johnny Vegas, singer Jacqui Abbott and Therese Coffey MP and success and St Helens seem inseparable.

But Wellens, the hometown boy that led them to the 13-12 win at NRL champions Penrith Panthers, knows there is much more that goes into it.

He said: “There’s something in the water in this part of the world. We had Martin Murray, who fought for a world boxing title, as well as Michael, who I know really well.

“There are many more sports people doing great things. It’s something we’re proud of, as well as many more St Helens people doing great things.



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“There’s a real working class mentality around this town – an industrial town and one that’s full of hard workers.

“You’d like to think that’s been passed down from generation to generation. Nothing great is achieved without dedication and hard work – there are many people in this town with those traits.”

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Paul Wellens is the hometown boy who guided St Helens to World Club Challenge gloryCredit: SWPIX.COM

Bennison is one of the latest crop of players looking to keep St Helens at the top of the tree domestically.

He is a ‘foreigner’ – a proud son of Runcorn, 10 miles away – while several of the squad hail from neighbouring Widnes.

But the 20-year-old, who will face Leeds in the homecoming, believes what lies a few miles down the road is motivation that has driven people from that part of the world to success.

He said: “In some people it definitely will be. Certainly in St Helens, a lot of people feel pride in the town, not the region – getting bundled in with Liverpool.

“That doesn’t sit well with some people so it could be the case for them – for me, my main argument is one side of the Jubilee Bridge over the other with Widnes. And Runcorn is definitely superior!

“Maybe it’s that grounded upbringing in this area. There’s always that desire and hunger to do well because it’s not an affluent area – you can build yourself up in the world through sport.”

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