Walmsley’s time to shine Down Under

Alex Walmsley lining up for England vs Combined Affiliated States Squad
Alex Walmsley lining up for England vs Combined Affiliated States Squad

If Alex Walmsley has ambitions to finish his career in the NRL, he will certainly be in the shop window during the forthcoming World Cup.

There is growing speculation in Australia that one or two of their leading clubs will be watching the 27-year-old Dewsbury-born prop’s performances Down Under with more than just a passing interest.

Alex Walmsley at England's training camp

Alex Walmsley at England's training camp

Walmsley - a late developer in the professional world of rugby league - is non-committal where his future lies and is tied to Saints for at least another 12 months.

He admits to being happy and settled at the Totally Wicked Stadium and says he hasn’t spoken to any NRL clubs about a move.

“The most important thing for me at this moment in time is focusing on rugby and, in particular, the World Cup,” he said.

“I’ve always believed that contracts and everything else will take care of themselves.”

Walmsley, who joined Saints from Batley Bulldogs in 2013 and is closing in on 150 Super League appearances, is relishing the World Cup showdown involving 14 countries and has already done his homework on Friday’s rivals, Australia, in the opening group match of the tournament.

He said: “I’ve been keeping an eye on the NRL for the last couple of years and if selected I will relish the challenge. I’ve not come here just to make up the numbers and it will be great to test myself against the very best, as well as showcase what you can offer.”

But Super League’s top metre makers in 2017 knows he faced a stiff task just to make the England starting 17 with competition coming from the likes ex-Saints favourite James Graham, Warrington’s Chris Hill and South Sydney’s Sam Burgess.

Friday’s game will be screened live on BBC 2, Premier Sports and Live Free Sport from 9am to noon and post-match analysis via the red button on BBC 2 between noon and 12.30pm.

Late evening highlights will also be shown from 11.50pm.