Kristian Woolf has identified rising star Jack Welsby as a future St Helens skipper.
The club’s Grand Final hero has agreed a three-year contract extension.
Welsby, when still a teenager, hit the headlines by scoring the last-gasp try that sealed the Super League title last year.
He was the quickest to react when, with the score between Saints and Wigan level in the final seconds of the Grand Final, a field-goal attempt hit a post and bounced back into play.
The Academy product, who can operate in a string of positions in the backs and turned 20 in March, has continued to catch the eye this season, scoring a hat-trick of tries in last month’s 34-16 Super League win over Hull.
He also claimed a try in the 33-18 Challenge Cup semi-final victory over Hull and has seven tries in eleven appearances in 2021.
Welsby played at amateur club Shevington and then moved to Blackbrook before signing for Saints in 2014.
He shone on the Academy’s 2017 tour of Australia and made the first of 40 first-team appearances to date (with 19 tries) in 2018.
Coach Woolf said: “Jack is an outstanding young player who has come through the St Helens system and is one of our own.
“He has a terrific skill set and great knowledge of the game and he always wants to learn and get better.
“What I love about him is he competes in whatever position he plays. He just makes it work.
“Jack is clearly going to be a real feature moving forward and has the potential to take on a leadership role within the club in the future.”
Welsby said: “I’m buzzing to sign another extension. I love it here and I am delighted to get this deal over the line so I can concentrate on my rugby again.
“I had a great season last season, topped off in the best possible way with the way the Grand Final.
“This extension is the cherry on top, but I am now fully concentrating on the season ahead and trying to achieve more success with this special group, which I am very grateful to be a part of.”
Welsby and his team-mates are preparing for Thursday’s home Super League clash with Warrington after their game at Leeds was postponed due to Covid issues in the Rhinos camp.
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