Jack Welsby wants to take new St Helens fan Tony Bellew up on his pledge to attend a Super League game after his dramatic Grand Final heroics.
Former cruiserweight world champion Bellew tweeted his admiration for Saints and match winner Welsby during Friday’s unforgettable season decider. The teenage St Helens centre snatched victory against rivals Wigan when he chased through to touch down after Tommy Makinson’s drop goal attempt struck a post with the clock having ticked past 80 minutes.
Bellew wrote on the night: “Watching this rugby and these lads are quite simply hard as nails. Seriously powerful and talented athletes who can’t half shift.
“They get smashed and I mean SMASHED and just crack on – fella is covered in blood and he’s not phased in the slightest. Closest thing I’ve seen to actually fighting in team sports this, brilliant viewing.”
After the game he added: “Wow is all I have to say – well done to Jack Welsby. Truly amazing finish that is – 100% I’ll be attending be of these when I get a chance.
“The way they all behaved at the end also was brilliant. Proper fellas they are and also a gang of PROPER role models – I’m now a Saints fan.”
Now rising star Welsby – a key figure when England Academy beat the Australian Schoolboys at the end of 2018 – wants to welcome Bellew to the Totally Wicked Stadium in 2021.
Welsby said: “Of course – I saw him tweeting about it and it’s what our game needs really. He’s a massive personality, it would be good for the game to have someone identify it for being as good as it is.
“If there had been a game of football as intense and dramatic as that you’d hear about it for the next 30 years. I saw Chris Kamara getting involved too, which is great.
“I think the praise we’ve got is thoroughly deserved. The demands the game brings, the aspect of fitness, and physicality mashed into one, there’s nothing that really compares to it and there’s so much more that goes into it.
“The game deserves to be recognised a lot more for how great it is and it’s nice to see people from across other sports acknowledge that after Friday.”
Welsby admitted he was not completely certain his try would be given while he was waiting for video referee Ben Thaler to verify the score.
Welsby added: “I wasn’t 100% sure I was onside or put the ball down. I was confident I was there or thereabouts. It’s all a blur now, I remember James Bentley being the first to jump on me and then I can’t remember.
“The only thing I remember after that is seeing Tommy Leuluai running back with his head in his hands and thinking ‘oh my god, I’ve got a chance here’.”