St Helens’ Jack Welsby played his first senior level game on Australian shores on Saturday - and you can bet your bottom dollar that he will now be on the long-term radar of top NRL clubs.
The 21-year-old, who made his Betfred Super League debut against Hull FC in September 2018 and has since racked up three Grand Final triumphs and a Challenge Cup victory at Wembley, helped mastermind St Helens’ 30-18 success over St George Illawarra Dragons in the first of their two-matches in Australia, scoring one of St Helens’ first half tries and generally linked up superbly with long-time pal Lewis Dodd.
Former Aussie international Cooper Cronk was suitably impressed by Welsby’s overall performance, saying: "I think he has the ability to predict where the ball is going to be.
"There was a line break down the middle where he knew the ball was coming back his way and he hit the accelerator. The guy has been unbelievable in the Super League and also had a good World Cup. He has that rare ability to create tries through his passing game but also bobs up for the off-loads."
One-time hooker and current Fox Sports TV commentator Michael Ennis added: " There are always a few players who pop up and are good enough to play in our competition like Welsby and Tommy Makinson.
"Welsby has a really good balance of knowing when to pass the ball and when to put himself about."
Saints don’t want to lose one of their most talented players to the NRL but money talks in this day and age and it will be interesting to see where Welsby’s long-term future lies.
The Super League champions will no doubt be hoping he follows in the footsteps of skipper James Roby, who will retire at the end of 2023 after a remarkable 20 seasons wearing the famous red-vee jersey.