St Helens front rower Alex Walmsley is back in training with the league leaders and has set himself the target of helping his team to Grand Final glory.
Having fractured his neck in March, the initial diagnosis saw the former Batley Bulldog ruled out for the season on his surgeon’s advice but now he is hoping to return before season’s end. It was an injury that he sustained while attempting a tackle in their 30-12 victory at Warrington but wasn’t initially picked up. Days later, the five-time England international, experiencing pains down his arm and in his neck, went to the club physio and the diagnosis of a broken neck was one which took him aback. “The stigma of an injury like that sends your mind into overdrive. You think about whether you will ever be able to play again…will you be able to pick up your son…will you be able to walk if the operation goes wrong…all sorts of things.” Speaking of the surgery, Walmsley expressed that the surgeon wasn’t holding out much hope for a 2018 return. “Before the operation, the surgeon wrote off my year,” Walmsley expressed. “That was tough to hear but I tried to look on the bright side; at least he wasn’t writing off my career.” Admitting that his surgeon was surprised with how swiftly his recovery has been, the 28-year-old revealed that any return is dependant on a scan he is to have at the end of July.
Undoubtedly the most impressive team in Super League this year, Saints are still battling for every piece of silverware and Walmsley is keen to help his team win them all: “hopefully I will be able to help them at the back end of the year.” A return for the powerful forward would no doubt add further aggression into an already imposing Saints pack at the business end of the season. Indeed, Luke Thompson has made the starting front rower berth his own in Walmsley’s absence while Kyle Amor has also been at his imposing best. While the Totally Wicked Stadium team have been strong and impressive through 2018, the return of Walmsley would no doubt boost their silverware chances at the end of the season.