’Generational talent’ knocks back interest from Dragons to extend stay in Super League

Having already missed out on the signature of Addin Fonua-Blake, the Dragons have suffered another setback with Super League sensation Jack Welsby opting to stay put with St Helens.

Welsby, who had fielded interest from the Dragons, has officially extended with the Saints until the end of the 2027 season in what the club described as “one of the biggest retentions in recent memory”.

Dragons coach Shane Flanagan had confirmed the club’s interest in Welsby earlier in the month, branding the young fullback a “super talent with attacking brilliance”.

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Jack Welsby of the Saints holds aloft the World Club Challenge trophy with fans. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“Welsby is the English Test five-eighth and fullback,” Flanagan told The Daily Telegraph.

“He is only young so could come over here and have a long career.

“We are definitely looking outside the square and have gone as far as going to the UK with Jack Welsby. We’ve expressed some interest there and made contact with his manager.

“He is a super talent with attacking brilliance. We know there will be a lot of interest when he comes off contract but we might have to push now to see if we can get him.

“In the World Cup, he was outstanding. Even Benny Hunt said he was hard to handle when Australia played them.

“The challenge is getting some of those English players out of their country. Once they’re here they love it but getting them here is the challenge.”

Welsby though said he is looking forward to challenging himself to go to another level for St Helens, having already won three Super League titles at just 22 years old.

“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 told the club’s official website.

“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.”

Jack Welsby has extended. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“I am over the moon glad it’s done with now and I can get my head into pre-season and the New Year. It was a decision I had to make and I’m glad that I’ve made the decision that I have, and I’m going to be around all my best mates and a really good club.”

Welsby, who has scored 54 tries in 117 games for the Saints, really put his name on the map with a standout performance in the team’s World Cup Challenge upset win over Penrith.

The 22-year-old scored a try and set up another on the way to being named player of the game and was described on Thursday by St Helen’s R.F.C Chairman Eamonn McManus as a “generational talent”.

“It’s hard to comprehend what he has already achieved at the age of 22. Committing long-term to St Helens is a massive boost to us now and going forward,” McManus said.

“Jack is in a position to become one of the Club’s all-time greats and we know that he will be a key component and driving force in our future success.”

Welbsy scores against the Panthers. NRL PHOTOSSource: The Daily Telegraph

“It’s harder in the current climate to keep your best players, but it is something that Saints has had real success with,” added Head Coach Paul Wellens.

“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.”

Source website: www.foxsports.com.au

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