Stats show Super League star could be better than Jack Welsby despite harsh criticism

Today Warrington Wolves take on Super League and World Champions St Helens knowing that a win will send them to Wigan Warriors in the Super League semi-finals but defeat will see St Helens head over to Catalans Dragons in the semi-finals.

One of the key battles will be the battle between Jack Welsby up against Matt Dufty.

In the eyes of many Welsby is by far better than Dufty and was subsequently named in the Dream Team ahead of the Warrington fullback who has been criticised by the likes of Phil Clarke but plenty of others.

The stats however show that Dufty has perhaps been better than Welsby in 2023.

He has scored 13 tries to 12, made 3094 metres compared to 2842 metres and bust 130 tackles compared to 127.

The two have played the same number of games.

Both teams come into this off the backs of contrasting regular season form. Warrington started fantastically, winning their first eight games of the season, but since then it has been turmoil. A run of eight consecutive loses saw the end of Daryl Powell’s reign, and in came Gary Chambers. Since his appointment, Chambers has helped steady the ship and guided them through to the play-offs.

The Wire had to do it the hard way though, only securing their place in the top six last week with their victory over Huddersfield Giants.

On the other hand St Helens started the season slowly, but once they got the World Club Challenge out of their system they have been one of the form sides in the league and narrowly missed out on the League Leaders Shield on points difference.

The rivals have met on three occasions already this season, with the defending Champions coming away with the spoils on all three occasions; however they have been tight affairs, but who will march onto the semi-finals next weekend?

To answer that question the team news is of course vital. The Wolves have a surprise omission in their squad with no Josh Thewlis, the young winger who has been nominated for the Young Player of the Year being absent.

Thewlis returned for the Wolves last week to replace the ill Matty Ashton but this week Thewlis is out and Ashton is back.

Matty Russell will likely start on the other wing and fortunately playmaker George Williams is still fit to feature.

Paul Wellens makes just one change to the squad that secured a victory over Hull FC last Friday night, with George Delaney picking up a one-match penalty notice following the fixture. In comes Dan Norman, who if selected will be making his final Saints home appearance following confirmation he would be one of our departing Saints from the Club once the season ends.

Like Dan, should Will Hopoate be chosen to feature in the game, it will also be his final appearance in the famous Red V strip at the Totally Wicked Stadium.