The future of St Helens star Jack Welsby hangs in the balance as the new year draws closer.
Welsby has been on the radar of NRL clubs since he impressed in the World Cup at the end of 2022 and this was only furthered by his World Club Challenge heroics in 2023 as he was Man of the Match against Penrith Panthers.
Welsby though is contracted to the club until the end of 2025 but NRL clubs believed the Saints could be tempted into an early release with a fee which is why St George Illawarra Dragons made a move for him.
The Dragons’ efforts have been made more desperate by the de-registering of Junior Amone making them keen to sign Jack Welsby to replace him however Serious About Rugby League understands that Welsby is close to agreeing the reported deal with St Helens which will see him remain in Super League until 2028.
Perhaps he is beginning to build a legacy like former teammate James Roby who was recently awarded the freedom of St Helens.
Roby brought the curtain down on an incredible 20-year rugby league playing career in October, with his place firmly cemented not only as one of the best ever to play the sport but one of our town’s greatest ambassadors.
Born and bred in the town of St Helens, Roby is a former Cowley International High School student who has gone on to become the Saints’ all-time appearance maker playing 551 times for the Red V. Over 20 seasons the legendary player won; 6 Super League titles, 4 Challenge Cups, 8 League Leaders’ Shields, 2 World Club Challenges and 1 Man of Steel Award.
As captain of the Saints, James Roby led the team to an unprecedented four Super League championships in a row from 2019 to 2022. In 2023 he skippered the side to even more history with the first summer era victory over an Australian side in the World Club Challenge against NRL Champions Penrith Panthers for the Club’s third world title.
Back in March it was announced that St Helens Borough Council had nominated the former Saints’ hooker for the accolade for his services to the borough, alongside; reigning darts world champion, Michael Smith; MP for St Helens South and Whiston, Marie Rimmer CBE; and the Duke of Lancaster regiment.
After presenting the four recipients with their Freedom of the Borough scrolls, St Helens Borough Council Leader David Baines said: “I am honoured to present these four outstanding recipients with the highest honour a council and borough can give.
“Their efforts in service to our communities are each remarkable in their own ways and on behalf of the council and the people of St Helens Borough, I thank them and congratulate them on a well-deserved recognition.”
Mayor of St Helens Borough, Councillor Lynn Clarke said: “It’s been a tremendous evening. I’m really proud to have been involved in presenting the Freedom of the Borough scrolls to our very worthy recipients.
“Everything they have achieved has been recognised by the council and we are really pleased that they have accepted their honours on what was a historic occasion.”