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‘There is a feeling Saints would succumb’: Ritchie on Welsby NRL move

20 Feb 23, 8:08PM 0 Comments

Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk

Photo by Getty Images

The past six months have seen Jack Welsby make a name for himself on the world stage and NRL clubs are beginning to notice.

At the Rugby League World Cup Welsby was arguably England’s best player as the host nation came very close to back-to-back appearances in the Final.

Since then Welsby flew over to Australia with St Helens to partake in the NRL Pre-Season Challenge and World Club Challenge where he proved he can excel when facing Australian first-grade competition, putting in a strong performance against the St George Illawarra Dragons before stepping up in a huge game as the Saints defeated the Penrith Panthers by a field goal to become world club champions for the third time.

Welsby is currently contracted to St Helens until the end of 2025 but Dean “Bulldog” Ritchie has outlined how a few impatient NRL clubs are looking to bring him to Australia full-time shortly in a recent article for The Daily Telegraph.

“NRL clubs are aware Welsby is under contract at St Helens until the end of 2025, but are devising a plan to sign the player for 2026, 2027 and 2028,” said Ritchie.

“Once that contract is signed, and with Welsby ready to play in Australia, the successful NRL club would start to agitate St Helens for an early release for 2025.

“Australian clubs with fullbacks in their late 20s or early 30s will be, according to officials, the first to look at Welsby.

“St Helens are renowned for refusing players to leave early but if Welsby and the NRL club provoke hard enough, there is a feeling Saints would succumb.”

There are several clubs that could be looking to secure Welsby’s services but a couple stand out as potential front-runners.

If Welsby is looking to maintain the Red V then the Dragons would be a perfect fit as Tyrell Sloan’s full-time position at the Dragons is still unknown and Moses Mbye is arguably better used elsewhere.

Manly’s current dilemma surrounding injury-prone superstar Tom Trbojevic could also be made easier if they knew that a quality fullback was eventually headed their way, which could also be said about the Melbourne Storm whose fans have recently been disappointed by the news that Ryan Papenhuyzen will not be fit to make his return from injury in round one.

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