St Helens may have just received a massive blow in their efforts to retain Jack Welsby ahead of 2024.
Welsby is contracted until the end of 2025 but has been on the radar of NRL clubs since the World Cup and more so after his heroics down under in the World Club Challenge. There has long been a belief in Australia that Welsby could be tempted to the NRL prior to the end of his contract with a small fee to be paid for his release.
The St George Illawarra Dragons likely subscribed to this thought process when they began talks with the player. St Helens responded in kind with contract talks of their own with a deal to remain at the club until 2028 on the table.
However, in the latest twist, St George are set to step up their interest in Welsby. This is because Head Coach Shane Flanagan revealed the club were waiting to see what happened to Junior Amone and the NRL after he was found guilty of threatening a man with a hammer.
The NRL have de-registered him now with Fox League reporting:
“Dragons star Junior Amone is set to have his NRL contract deregistered after the governing body issued a notice to the five-eighth amid his court battle over his role in a hammer attack.
“Amone avoided prison in Wollongong District Court last week after being convicted of charges of intimidation and assault occasioning actual bodily harm when he brandished a hammer and chase a tradesman off a roof in November last year.
“The NRL on Tuesday afternoon confirmed it had issued the notice, which is the first step towards deregistering Amone’s contract.”
This leaves St George in need of a spine player and Welsby was their target. They promised to step up talks with Welsby if Amone was denied a spot in the NRL and will likely do that.
It also gives them a further $500,000 of their salary cap to spend and throw at Welsby to try and lure him down under. Some in Australia have already said that if Welsby turns them down it shows a lack of ambition.
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