Kristian Woolf makes big Jack Welsby claim after latest sensational St Helens display

Jack Welsby’s star performance in Saturday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final victory over Catalans Dragons in Perpignan is only the beginning of his story, according to his coach Kristian Woolf.

The St Helens chief was full of praise for his 21-year-old fullback, who played a vital try-scoring role in the 36-20 win.

Woolf said, “I thought his first-half was exceptional. I’ve waxed lyrical about him plenty of times; he is an exceptional football player and an exceptional person as well.

“He is so good because he wants to improve, he wants to get better and compete harder, he ticks all the boxes in a player and in a young man.

“I didn’t think he had quite the same impact in the second 40 minutes. But he’s just 21 and he’s been one of our best players in every game this season. And he’s only going to get better.”

Woolf said it would only be a matter of time before international honours came Welsby’s way, adding: “There is no doubt about it, he is going to be playing international footy, he’s heading in the right direction and if it’s not this year then it’s going to be in the very near future.

“He’s a real credit to the competition and to our club. We need to respect the qualities he has as a person and the ability he has as a player.

“He is someone who you can build a team around, he’s a real shining light and a positive for the competition.”

Woolf was pleased with his side’s progress through to the cup semi-finals and he was hoping for a repeat of last year’s success.

He said, “We want to put ourselves in the frame to win the Challenge Cup again. It was such a great thing to be a part of last season and something the club hadn’t done for a while. We want to give ourselves the best opportunity to back that up and keep ticking over wins in Super League at the same time.

“We’ve got a very good team here and we showed glimpses of what we are capable of today. But I know we can be better. We’re only going to improve as the season goes on.”

Woolf reported no injury worries from the Catalans game as he plans for Good Friday’s derby clash against Wigan Warriors.

He said, “I don’t think we have any major concerns from today, so I’m confident all our blokes will be available to go again next week.

“It’s another big game for us and that’s a real positive; that’s what gets the players excited.

“From one big game to the next you know exactly where your players’ heads are going to be.

“We all know what the derby against Wigan means to us, so the players will be really excited this week and chomping at the bit.”

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