Yates' verdict: Young and old a dominant force for St Helens

A couple of weeks ago Saints' head coach Kristian Woolf, who in the past has helped nurture and develop young NRL talent Down Under, said that the versatile Jack Welsby was up there with the best to come under his wing.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 8:39 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 8:42 am
St Helens captain James Roby with the Steve Prescott Cup after the game. Picture: SWpix

It was an honest assessment of what the future holds for the 20-year-old - and spot on if judged by his near faultless display in Monday night's crushing 42-10 victory at Hull FC.

The world is his oyster if he keeps his feet firmly planted on the ground but he could be excused for pinching himself and suddenly waking up and finding it was all just a dream.

Scorer of a dramatic winning try in last year's Grand Final and a Wembley medal already tucked away at home - something other players never achieve in the sport - he came up with the goods again at the MKM Stadium by grabbing a league hat-trick for the second time against the same opposition this season.

It paved the way for what eventually turned out to be a comfortable victory for the defending champions who were able to cash-in fully on the Airlie Birds' second half indiscipline - Jordan Johnstone and Ligi Sao being sin-binned at different stages.

Both sides went into the fixture wanting to prove a point - Hull hoping to show they were still not suffering from the rigors of a home defeat at the hands of Leeds Rhinos a few days earlier and Saints wondering how they would respond to a lack of matches and training due to Covid-19 and their post-Wembley celebrations.

No worries on that score as they came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders and the dominant force.

Veteran skipper James Roby was at the hub of everything positive and like man of the match Welsby, who is set to take over the full back role in 2022, stamped his authority on the 80 minutes.

So, too, did 19-year-old Lewis Dodd. He replaced the injured Theo Fages and showed why Woolf will not be scouring the market for a replacement.

Now Saints will turn their attention to Saturday's home clash with Super League table-toppers the Catalans Dragons - and what a humdinger is on the cards.

The match kicks-off at 2.30pm and will be screened live by Sky.