To the surprise of even himself given where he was last year, Jon Bennison now wears the number five shirt at St Helens.
The young winger / fullback was the hero of their semi-final win over Salford Red Devils last year prior to scoring in the Grand Final against tonight’s opponents Leeds Rhinos.
Speaking about last season, Welsby said: “I just tried to play as well as I could every week but in the thought that if such and such came back from injury then I can’t be disheartened or sulk about it, just get on with the job at hand and keep working hard.”
Now though the Saints have huge depth in the backs with Will Hopoate starting the World Club Challenge on the wing and with Tee Ritson arriving from Barrow Raiders.
Bennison had big praise for Ritson as he spoke about the competition for places:
“That can only be a good thing really, with people recovering from fitness last year and signing Tee who is a quality player as well. I’ve got to work hard for my chances and bide my time because I might get less chances than last year but I’ve got to keep working hard and hopefully get a spot.
“I think we both put in solid performances, he got his try. It’s up to Wello but we’re both working hard and both deserve a crack at the whip.”
There is still the question of which position does the young man actually prefer: full-back or wing?
Bennison revealed which is his natural position but also a surprising role he has played in the past: “I think naturally I’m more of a full-back definitely. Growing up I played in a number of positions, I think when I was 16 I ended up playing loose forward so you’ve just got to play where you can and develop as much as you can.
“I’m happy to play anywhere really but I think full-back I’m a bit more acquainted really over the past few years.