Supporters of a certain vintage, who watched the Saints in the 1972-73 season, were saddened to hear of the passing of Chris Wellman, at the age of 64. He died of a suspected heart attack on Sunday 3rd May, 2015 at his home in Cabarita, near Tweed Heads. Overall, Chris played for two of the greatest clubs in Australia, Cronulla Sharks [81 appearances from 1969-74] and Western Suburbs [23 appearances in 1975]. Chris came over to Knowsley Road to sample the English game with recommendations from former Saints Cliff Watson and Tommy Bishop, who were both with Cronulla at the time.
He made his debut at home against Bradford Northern, at full-back, on 13th October 1972. The back line that day consisted of Wellman, Wilson, Wills, Walsh, together with Welsh winger Roy Mathias on the left flank. Chris scored a try in Saints 22-8 victory. Strong and skilful, he could play anywhere in the backs, halves and at loose forward. He also played against the touring Kangaroos when he was selected as the substitute for the backs. Another memory to take home was to play in the Boxing Day clash against Wigan at Knowsley Road, which ended 15-15. His last match in the red vee was against Widnes at Naughton Park, when Saints won 22-10 on New Years Day 1973. He was also a non-playing substitute against Leeds at Headingley, in the John Player semi-final on 13th January 1973. Saints lost 0-19. Overall Chris made 13 appearances for the Saints.
Returning to Cronulla, he played in the infamous Grand Final at the Sydney Cricket Ground against Manly in 1973, which Cronulla lost 7-10, once again with Watson and Bishop in their ranks. It remains one of the most physical matches in rugby league history and Wellman, playing at stand-off was durable enough to take what was thrown at him on the day ' and more.
Fast forward to 2006 and when the Sharks Dream Team [Greatest 17] was announced, it included Wellman at number six. Bishop was scrum-half and Watson in the front row. This was a tremendous honour for Chris Wellman, being chosen from one of the toughest eras of rugby league! Tommy Bishop remains a big fan of Wellmans abilities, citing his overall brilliance and knack of scoring tries when nothing seemed likely. Chris was a popular lad who made many friends during his short winter stay in South West Lancashire.
|Season (Official Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|Season (Other Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|13th Oct 1972||
|22nd Oct 1972||
|27th Oct 1972||
|3rd Nov 1972||
|15th Nov 1972||
|19th Nov 1972||
|24th Nov 1972||
|1st Dec 1972||
|9th Dec 1972||
|15th Dec 1972||
|24th Dec 1972||
|26th Dec 1972||
|1st Jan 1973||
|13th Jan 1973||
|*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.|
|WINS : 9 | LOSSES : 4 | DRAWS : 1|
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