Kris Welham will go from chasing centres and wingers at Wembley to rats and mice in Hull after Saturday’s Challenge Cup final.
The Salford three-quarter is preparing to step into the part-time Championship ranks at the end of this season and will start a new career as pest control officer.
Welham will work alongside his father-in-law, former Hull Kingston Rovers coach Gary Wilkinson, in a stark change to life as a full-time rugby league player.
The 33-year-old explained: “I’ll be catching mice and rats and sorting wasps nests, ants, bed bugs – anything like that really on a daily basis. Whatever problem people ring up with we’ll go and deal with.
“It will be completely different to what I’m used but I’ve had it planned for a while and the last few years I’ve been doing all my courses and exams.
“I’m not too fond of spiders which goes against everything as a pest control man, but I know what the job entails and I’m ready for it now.”
Before that though Welham has one last shot at a major honour, having been part of the Hull KR side thrashed 50-0 by Saturday’s opponents Leeds at Wembley in 2015, and losing last year’s Grand Final with the Red Devils.
He admits that competing in finals looked an unlikely prospect when coach Ian Watson gave him a second shot at Super League when he signed him from Bradford Bulls in 2017.
Welham – who admits he gets stick from his team-mates for being Watson’s favourite player – added: “If I’m being honest I couldn’t have seen it. From the outside looking in you didn’t associate Salford with big games like the Challenge Cup final and Grand Final. But Watto has built up a great squad and now we believe in each other and believe that we can compete.
“He gave me another chance after Bradford, and a lot of players have been on their way out or going down the leagues when he’s brought them in and got them playing their best rugby. That’s what’s happened for me over the last four years and I can’t thank him enough.
“We know that Leeds are a good side and they’ve done a number on us twice this season – but we’ll be leaving everything on that field to being the cup home.”
The Red Devils have been boosted by news that experienced forwards Lee Mossop and Mark Flanagan have both been cleared for the final after repeat Covid-19 tests came back negative.
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