TAYLOR Welch, the winger who describes himself simply as ‘an American Wire’, has declared himself ready to be involved in the play-offs after making his debut at Castleford on Sunday.
The 18-year-old Academy player, who moved to Warrington from Dallas with his father five years ago, was drafted into Wolves’ 19-man squad as cover for injury doubt Chris Riley and was then surprisingly chosen ahead of Kevin Penny once Riley had been declared fit.
That is thought to have made him both the first American ever to play for Warrington and the first to appear in Super League.
It is a fact that the former Lymm High School pupil, who has the accent to prove where his heart lies, is undeniably proud of.
And even a 44-24 defeat could not dampen the youngster’s obvious enthusiasm about his arrival into Super League – a year earlier than even he had dared to dream about.
“It was amazing,” he beamed. “To be on the field with players like Matt King and Jon Clarke was just an amazing experience.
“The coach called me in on Saturday morning and just told me he thought I had been training well and they were going to put me in.
“I’ve been on the field for the reserves playing games hard. I’ve made some very good plays and played some good games.
“But I was looking longer term to be honest. I was thinking maybe the end of next year, so it’s an amazing feeling.
“Personally I don’t think I played too well. I made some good plays and I made some bad plays. That’s something I need to work on.
“Will I be ready for the games coming up? Yes. I think I’ll definitely get better next time when the nerves aren’t there any more.”
Jimmy Lowes was encouraged by Welch’s debut and has indicated that form will decide whether he sticks with the American or brings back the more experienced Penny – dropped to 18th man after a shaky defensive display against Hull KR.
But just being in contention is a thrill for Welch, who regards himself as an adopted Warringtonian.
He had a frustrating wait for his under 18s debut last year because the RFL classed him as an overseas player, resolved only when special dispensation was given.
It was a bizarre situation, but then his background is anything but orthodox for a rugby league player.
“I was born in Dallas and was raised playing American football,” said Welch, who now qualifies under the Kolpak ruling.
“Mum died and dad moved over here and married an English woman.I just started playing rugby union at school and then Paul Cullen brought me over to play rugby league.
“Rugby league is great. It’s faster and harder and the athletes are much tougher than American football players! I’ve been playing since I was 16 at Crosfields and I’ve always wanted to be a Super League player.
“I’m the first American in Super League. It’s a bit of history.
“I’m very proud of that. I’m proud to be American.
“I’m an American Wire!”