St Helens utility back Jack Welsby has pronounced himself fit for the Grand Final as he prepares to go up against one of his boyhood heroes.
Welsby, who scored the last-second try that earned his side a dramatic win in last year’s Super League title decider against home-town club Wigan, was taken off with a shoulder injury in the second half of Saints’ 36-8 semi-final win over Leeds last Friday.
However, speaking at a press conference via zoom, the 20-year-old newly-crowned Super League young player of the year says nothing will stop him running out against Catalans Dragons at Old Trafford on Saturday.
“It was a bit of a weird one,” he said. “I was trying to punch too much above my weight with Konrad Hurrell and caught him a bit funny.
“My shoulder is totally fine now, it was just the impact more than anything.
“I had my first training session today and got through perfectly fine.
“It’s pretty much perfect and I’m ready to go.”
Welsby added: “I was more in pain at first, it was almost as if I caught a nerve or something, the whole arm was pretty numb.
“I got it strapped up and was ready to go back on, there was no thought of me missing the Grand Final at all.
“I would have had to do something bad to miss a Grand Final.”
Welsby, who was in St Helens’ Challenge Cup final-winning team in July, supported Wigan in his youth when the exploits of Sam Tomkins helped him fall in the love with rugby league.
Now he will go up against Tomkins, the 32-year-old Catalans full-back, on the big stage on Saturday and cannot wait.
“It will be a dream come true for me,” he said. “It’s pretty much the dream for every young lad growing up in Wigan or St Helens.
“My earliest memory was Saints-Wigan in 2010 when Martin Gleeson scored two tries in the first 10 minutes and Sam Tomkins was outstanding in a 22-10 victory.
We are delighted to share the news that Jack Welsby has been crowned the 2021 Betfred @SuperLeague Young Player of the Year! 🏆
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) October 4, 2021
“That’s where the dream started really, nine years old watching it on the telly with my dad, just falling in love with everyone that was playing for Wigan.
“I never thought 11 years later I would be playing against Sam Tomkins in a Grand Final. It will be pretty special.
“I can’t wait to walk out and take it all in.
“It’s probably the best atmosphere a rugby league player gets to play in.”