ONE of rugby league’s most experienced and knowledgeable coaches, John Kear, has predicted a bright future for 21-year-old prop Alex Walmsley following his out-of-the-blue move to St Helens.
Kear, a former England boss and top man at a plethora of Super League clubs since first taking over the reins of the now defunct Paris Saint-Germain ahead of the switch to summer rugby in 1996, said: “The boy has the talent to go far in the game, and he couldn’t have joined a better club than Saints.”
Walmsley’s rise is remarkable as less than 12 months ago, he was playing amateur rugby for Dewsbury Celtic in the Second Division of the National Conference League.
It was there Kear spotted his potential, and he was quickly offered professional terms by Co-operative Championship side Batley Bulldogs.
Kear added: “I must admit we took a gamble signing him, but since then he has been a regular and arguably our best prop, and deserves to test himself at the highest level.
“Several other clubs were interested in signing him, but Saints did everything by the book, and I was more than happy to see him join them.”
Walmsley, who stands 6ft 5ins tall and is a former GB Students player, has also signed on dual registration forms, which will enable him to play for his former club when not required at St Helens.
Saints chairman Eamonn McManus said: “Alex is one of the most promising and exciting prospects in the game.
“We are delighted to have secured his services on a three-year deal, ahead of stiff competition from other clubs.
“He is a powerful forward who we have no doubt will suit our style of play, and we look forward to welcoming to Langtree Park.”
Walmsley will not, however, find it easy breaking into a Saints’ side which already has Josh Perry, Anthony Laffranchi and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook ahead of him in the pecking order at prop, and others able to fill the role if needed.