Third sting in as many days: Welsby spurns Dragons for Super League mega deal | The Sporting Base
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Third sting in as many days: Welsby spurns Dragons for Super League mega deal

December 22, 2023

Third sting in as many days: Welsby spurns Dragons for Super League mega deal

St George Illawarra’s high-profile recruitment drive has taken another hefty hit, with young English superstar Jack Welsby turning down the club’s NRL offer to instead “win things again” in the Super League.

Instead of taking up a lucrative Dragons offer, the 22-year-old, who has already won three Super League trophies, re-signed with St Helens through to the end of the 2027 season.

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Welsby, who many have described as a generational talent coming out of the north hemisphere, has been on most NRL clubs’ radars for some time now, especially after an academy tour in Australia in 2017 and 2018.

New St George Illawarra coach Shane Flanagan believed he could bring Welsby to the NRL.

However, loyalty won over in the end. That, paired with Welsby’s belief the Dragons won’t have the power to win anything anytime soon, both contributed to the fullback sticking with St Helens for the next four years. Whether Flanagan now tries to pay a transfer fee for the player regardless remains to be seen.

The main reason the rejection stings so much for the Wollongong-based club is this week has been strewn with tough pills; Tom Dearden and Adin Fonua-Blake both chose other clubs over the Dragons, while five-eighth Junior Amone is set to be deregistered for his role in a hammer attack on several tradies at the beginning of the year.

The NRL may come knocking for Welsby—be it the Dragons or any of the other interested clubs—but for the time being, Welsby says he’s very happy with the decision he’s made.

“I am over the moon glad it’s done, it was a decision I had to make. I’m going to be around all my best mates and a really good club,” Welsby said.

“The NRL’s a massive competition and everyone sees it as that, but I believe Super League can be that and we’ve just got to work towards it. 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 … but for me, it was always going to be St Helens.

“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.

The English star continued: “I want to win things again. I think last year was a massive disappointment and the way it ended… [it] was a horrible feeling and I don’t want to feel it again.”


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