St Helens edged out Leeds Rhinos last night in a match that Rohan Smith described as not being of a high standard of game but “a high standard of competitiveness”, and that summed it up perfectly with just one moment of brilliance being all that split the sides.
That moment of brilliance came from Saints full-back Jack Welsby with the youngster picking the ball up 30 to 40 metres out and darting past both Ritchie Myler and Ash Handley to score in impressive fashion.
It was Welsby’s second of the night and his eighth of the season and it was a try that promoted Sky Sports’ commentator Phil Clarke to wax lyrical about the full-back.
“If he’s not the best player in this competition then I don’t know what I’m watching,” Clarke declared.
“He’s head and shoulders above everybody else for me, in attack and defence. His competitive nature and the skill that he demonstrates.
“His ability to influence a game in the key moments, he accelerates from everyone else, even Ash Handley can’t get close to him.”
Welsby also tops the assists chart in Super League this season and at the age of just 22 it seems the world is at his feet, with Brian Carney asking the question ‘is Welsby the best rugby player on these shores, regardless of codes’.
Paul Wellens then offered his insights onto his number one.
“He can do things on a rugby field that others can’t do. I think in this competition there’s probably only him and Jai Field who can score that try.”
The try itself was a thing of beauty but the overall game of Welsby has taken a sharp rise this season and that started all the way back with the World Club Challenge performance against Penrith, with that game getting Australian tongues wagging.
Now though Wellens says there is still more to come from the young maverick, a thought not worth thinking about for rival clubs.
“The scary thing about Jack is that there is still a bit more improvement with the way he manages games at times could maybe be improved, but when he can do stuff like that then he’s always going to effect a game.”