England duo set for NRL interest

On Sunday, England defeated Tonga thanks to tries from Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves centre Toby King, Hull KR halfback Mikey Lewis and a brace for Tom Johnstone.

Johnstone’s first try was truly special as it came after a delightful ball from Jack Welsby as the youngest ever England skipper stole the show on Sunday.

Both he and Johnstone were the focus of the Australian press’ coverage of the game.

Both men have been linked with NRL clubs throughout 2023 and this is only likely to increase the interest in the duo.

Welsby has been linked with Sydney Roosters in the past where former Saints boss Justin Holbrook operates.

Another of his former St Helens coaches is also in the NRL with The Dolphins making this a likely destination.

This is of course Tonga coach Kristian Woolf and he spoke about Welsby after the defeat to England:

“Oh look, I’ve got enormous respect for Jack. The way he plays the game and who he is as a young man as well is exceptional and I couldn’t have been prouder seeing that he was named as the England captain. I think it’s extremely deserved.

“I thought we did a pretty good job on Jack to be honest. He’s one of those blokes that he doesn’t necessarily know when he gets the ball what he’s going to do and you’ve got to be alert for anything.

“As I said, I thought overall we did a pretty good job. He got us on one pass, it was a brilliant pass to a brilliant line on Tom Johnstone and that was after 11 tackles in a row.

“I’m not quite sure where that six again came from but when you look at the rest of the ruck, that’s the way it went.”

He also underlined his disappointed about how they handled Mikey Lewis: “He’s a very good player but as I said we did a good job. My disappointment I guess was I thought we allowed Mikey Lewis to run the footy and we knew he was going to be a runner.

“We allowed him to run and find two line breaks there and that was something that we certainly could have been better on.”