Jack Welsby: St Helens' Grand Final match-winner a future England international – Kristian Woolf

Kristian Woolf, head coach of St Helens (L), try-scorer Jack Welsby and James Roby of St Helens pose with the trophy following victory during the Super League Grand Final
Jack Welsby (centre) ensured Kristian Woolf’s first season as St Helens head coach ended with a Super League Grand Final triumph

Super League Grand Final-deciding teenager Jack Welsby is destined to play for England and more greatness with St Helens, says head coach Kristian Woolf.

“He’s a really talented kid,” Woolf said. “He’s going to play a lot of footy for this club.

“And I have no doubt that he goes on to become an international as well.”

Welsby, who made his first-team debut for Saints in 2018 and who scored eight tries in 16 appearances this season before his Grand Final antics, showed incredible foresight and determination to grab the winning try against Wigan after the full-time hooter had sounded at Hull’s KCOM Stadium.

The centre followed up a drop-goal attempt from Tommy Makinson that came off the post and bounced into the in-goal area, beating Warriors’ highly-rated full-back Bevan French in a race to ground the ball.

“You obviously don’t expect the game to quite finish like that,” Woolf said.

“To chase that down and compete on every set – they’re the things that you preach about all the time, play until the last minute and all that stuff.

“But to actually do that and get the result off the back of it like we did, Jack Welsby deserves an enormous amount of credit. That was an outstanding play, I’m really proud of the kid to get that result at a Grand Final, at this level.

“It’s not going to be the last time in his career (to play in a Grand Final), he’s a terrific player, Jack. I think he is a real player of the future.”

Jack Welsby scores the winning try
Jack Welsby’s winning try was confirmed after going up to the video referee

Welsby’s exploits left Wigan “heartbroken” at the end of a gruelling contest behind closed doors after a season hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I feel I just want to rewind that last couple of minutes and have another go at it,” said Warriors boss Adrian Lam, whose side had won the League Leaders’ Shield after finishing top of the regular season table.

“I was really proud of the braveness of our guys. I guess we just needed a bit more luck.

“I think there is a couple of really important things to get out of tonight. One is that we are heartbroken and devastated. But I think since lockdown, we have been a complete beast as a rugby league team.

“I feel you will see a completely different Wigan outfit over the next 12 months. You will see a team that can dominate Super League.

“I think we can get ourselves back in this position next year and change that result.”

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