ack Welsby: St Helens full-back signs new contract after NRL interest

Jack Welsby in action for St Helens
Jack Welsby has won three Super League Grand Finals, the Challenge Cup and World Club Challenge with St Helens

England full-back Jack Welsby has signed a new contract with St Helens until the end of 2027, after interest from the elite Australian NRL.

The 22-year-old has made a total of 117 appearances for Saints, scoring 53 tries for the club.

He has played in and won three Super League Grand Finals, as well as the 2021 Challenge Cup at Wembley.

“It was a decision I had to make and I’m glad that I’ve made the decision that I have,” Welsby said.

“I’m going to be around all my best mates and a really good club. Everyone at St Helens expects to win trophies, whether it’s the fans, the players, the coaches, or the backroom staff.

“Everyone’s expecting for you to go out and win at a weekend and then win on the big night at Old Trafford. That sort of expectation, it’s hard sometimes, but it’s what I want, I want that pressure and that’s where I feel like I play my best rugby.”

Welsby¬†scored the winning try¬†in the dying moments of the 2020 Super League Grand Final to beat his hometown side Wigan Warriors, widely thought of as the most dramatic climax in the league’s history.

The England international went on to be the figurehead of a Saints team that swept aside their rivals during their period of dominance up until 2023, during which he scored again as St Helens beat Penrith to win the World Club Challenge.

Although he and Saints missed out on domestic silverware last season, the versatile Wiganer was named England captain by Shaun Wane during George Williams’ two-match absence and helped them to a 3-0 series win over Tonga.

While Welsby appeared on former Saints prop James Graham’s Bye Round podcast and admitted to his future interest in playing in Australia’s elite-level competition, this deal means suitors such as St George Illawarra will have to wait to secure his signature.

“The NRL’s a massive competition and everyone sees it as that, but I believe that Super League can be that and we’ve just got to work towards it,” Welsby added.

“Sometimes the speculation that comes with the NRL and stuff is not just as simple as going to sign at a different club, it’s a lot of things. It’s on the other side of the world, it’s tough and the timing’s got to be right – it’s got to be perfect. But for me, it was always going to be St Helens.”

Saints head coach Paul Wellens added: “It’s harder in the current climate to keep your best players, but it is something that Saints has had real success with. Jack now becomes the latest of a long line of players who have committed their long-term futures here.

“He is an absolute pleasure to work with, that is why everyone involved at St Helens is so delighted he has chosen to commit his future with us for the next four years. For a 22-year old he’s mature beyond his years and a real leader within our group, despite being so young.”

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