David Clegg Continues His Introduction Of Our Recent Acquisition, Centre, Kris Welham
Following his transfer across the city, from Hull FC to Hull KR, Kris found the environments of the two clubs were as alike as chalk and cheese, for although Hull had still been playing at their former home, The Boulevard, their Super League status was such that standards of equipment and playing surface were far superior to their counterparts in the Championship. Training at Craven Park was undertaken in the car park under the limited lighting around it, whilst the playing surface was much the worse for wear, and did nothing to enable him to exploit his significant turn of pace.
Surprisingly enough, he was in no way disappointed by finding himself in the considerably more humble surroundings than those to which he had become accustomed, because, being still in his more youthful days, he never really thought about the differences between the two clubs. As far as he was concerned, then, he was just turning up for training, and aiming to do his best for his new club.
This was probably just as well, as now, looking back on it, he considers it would have filled him with dismay, at how it all was, back then. That, including his three year in the Academy, he stayed with the Robins for thirteen years, shows just how well both player and club suited each other, and assisted the progress of each that they both made as a consequence of this.
His first team debut came in 2006, while the club was still in the Championship, in an away match against Leigh. As always, throughout his whole career, he started the match in the centre, but most remarkably, also making his debut as Kris’s co-centre was his younger brother Liam, who had been the first of the pair to take to rugby league, and who is currently playing with Championship 1 side Doncaster. Although the Rovers lost the game, mainly due to the significant lack of experience in their side, Kris got off to a try scoring start.
2008 is the year, which really stands out in his nine years with the first team, as, having successfully gained promotion into Super League, at the end of 2006, the team really moved forward in their second year in the top flight, and finished a most impressive fourth in the league. Under the guidance of Justin Morgan, one of the longest serving coaches during that period, Kris, too, made similar, great strides forward, to enable his career to take off by being selected for eighteen games, over that season, and eventually led to that 2015 appearance at Wembley.
At the end of that season, he finally broke his longstanding ties with the Robins to join Bradford Bulls, coached by our former assistant coach, Jimmy Lowes. Nothing, on his arrival there, gave Kris the inkling that anything at all was amiss, and it was only following the departure of Lowes, in the April, that things started to go awry, culminating with his becoming a free agent and joining us here at Salford, of which he says,
“I feel very lucky to have been snapped up by Salford, but was extremely concerned for my fellow players who were left back there. Fortunately, things have worked out well for them, and I do wish the new Bradford club, and all the people involved with it, all the very best.
“I am absolutely loving it here. The boys have all been very welcoming and quickly made me feel at home. It was another proud moment of my career, pulling on the Salford shirt for the first time in the pre-season friendly, at Rochdale.
“It is going to be a real challenge for me to try and work my way into the team, because after a season in the Championship, playing in Super League, once again, is going to be a big step up. The three pre-season friendlies were a nice, gradual rise for me, in this respect, but I do want to cement my place in the team so that, at the end of the season, I can look back on it, having done my best for the club.”
I am sure all our good wishes will go out to him, in achieving this aim.