NRL clubs are already discussing a move for Jack Welsby.
The English fullback was sensational in both St Helens’ win over St George Illawarra Dragons the week before he stole the show in the World Club Challenge win over Penrith Panthers scoring a try, notching an assist and coming up with two try saving tackles which helped propel St Helens to the world title.
St Helens have the fullback signed on until 2025 but according to the Mole of Wide World of Sports NRL clubs are keen on him and would be willing to pay a fee for his services,
Now the Daily Telegraph has reported that NRL clubs, namely those with aging fullbacks, are keen on bringing Welsby to Australia.
They even have a cunning plan to get the fullback.
The suggestion is that an NRL club will offer him a contract for 2026, once his St Helens contract has expired.
Then, once he signs the dotted line lobby for an early release offering a reduced fee ahead of the 2025 season.
This would mean that Welsby would remain with St Helens this year and next before leaving ahead of the 2025 season.
“What you’d do is sign him for 2026, ’27 and ’28 and then try and work hard to get him out of St Helens for 2025,” said one NRL official to the Daily Telegraph.
“With a year to go, the NRL club would then pay St Helens a transfer fee.
“Clubs will look at signing him for three years from 2026 – announce it and not make any further statement – before starting to raise an early release with St Helens after 2024.
“St Helens might say: ‘He’s going next year anyway, we’ve had him for ’23 and ’24 so let’s allow him to go provided there’s a transfer fee paid’. He could be here in 20 months.”
Now it seems that the Canterbury Bulldogs could be one of the sides interested in bringing in Welsby.
This is despite signing Stephen Crichton for 2024 on fullback money with the centre capable pf playing at the back as he did in the World Club Challenge.
However, Canterbury Chief Phil Gould has suggested that Crichton may not play fullback as he revealed the club will sign around seven more players for 2024 and “need a fullback.”
He told World Wide of Sports: “We need a fullback, so we’ll see what happens long term.”
This would make Welsby the ideal signing for the Bulldogs but it would be quite ironic after Gould said Penrith Panthers would be able to declare at halftime against the Saints in the World Club Challenge.