Academy Coach Derek Traynor gives saintsrlfc.com his thoughts on the 2017 tour of Australia and in particular the moment Jack Welsby came of age.
“The biggest memory that stays in my mind from this tour were the first 10 minutes of our first game against Canterbury Bulldogs. We had never played them before and club legend Willie Talau’s son was playing for them.
After 10 minutes we were two tries down and they looked very slick with there hands and decision making. All the coaches, including myself, had a very worried look on our faces as we thought this could be one game that could be over by half time.
But then up steps Jack Welsby.
He scored a great individual try before setting up another to put us level. From there the team grew in confidence and belief and we went on to get a great win and kicked off the tour in the best possible fashion. The lads then took this confidence up to Central Coast with them and never looked like losing as they dominated from start to finish.
We then had a real tough encounter at Souths against a team we had never faced before so we were all unsure of what we were going into. We won the game 18-0 with one of the best defensive displays ever seen on any tour against a very strong outfit.
Jack Welsby and Sam Royle were both excellent in this game and there was also a very good score from a young Josh Simm who was getting better and better as the tour went on.
Then it was onto the big one at Penrith’s Pepper Stadium. Unfortunately we were narrowly beaten, but the lads put up a very good performance.
This 2017 tour was probably the most physically demanding of all the tours with two very tough and intense games against the Bulldogs and Souths.
The tour overall was a great success and as always saw the lads develop as players and mature as young men which is the true measure of success for all our Academy tours.
Squad of 2017:
- Evan Bullen
- Sean Croston
- Matthew Foster
- Ryan Horne
- Kian Horridge
- John Hutchings
- Reece Jackson
- Christian Kellett
- Jamie Little
- Luke Maloney-Ward
- Paul Nash
- Tom Nisbet
- Brandon O’Neill
- Samuel Royle
- Brandon Scully
- Joseph Sharratt
- Josh Simm
- Ben Sims
- Kiye Siyani
- Kelvin Taylor
- Jack Welsby
- Jake Wingfield
- St Helens 36 v 10 Canterbury Bulldogs
- St Helens 32 v 8 Central Coast
- St Helens 26 v 0 South Sydney Rabbitohs
- St Helens 22 v 34 Penrith Panthers
If you wish to donate to help our Touring squad on their tour to Australia, please click here.