'Granddad' Alex Walmsley will not slow down as he reaches testimonial

THERE is no-one quite like granddad at St Helens, especially when ‘granddad’ is ‘unique’ Alex Walmsley.

Tonight sees the prop celebrate 10 years of reaching the very top and establishing himself as one of the world’s best after being plucked from Batley, who took him from the amateur ranks.

But that does not stop his team-mates, especially the younger ones, from mocking his age, not helped by him finding his first grey hair on Wednesday.

“When you’ve got Jack Welsby calling you granddad, considering he’s a superstar he probably gets away with saying what he wants,” said 31-year-old Walmsley, who has his testimonial against Leigh but is far from winding down.

“So I’ll cop it. That being said I actually found my first grey hair on Wednesday! I’m well over the hill.

“It’s mainly Jack but a couple of others too. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook definitely gets it more than me – he’s the main granddad!”

After stepping up from Batley, Walmsley has won Super League four times and the Challenge Cup – he is also a mainstay of England’s side.

Five years ago, he was an ace from lifting the World Cup and moving to the NRL – St George-Illawarra led the chase Down Under.

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But it was a ‘thanks but no thanks’ and there have been no regrets at not trying his luck Down Under.

Walmsley added: “I don’t believe in regret and whatever decisions I’ve made I feel like they’ve always been the best for myself and the family.

“Ultimately the loyalty to the club. I’ve always been proud of having that trait as a loyal person.

“I don’t find myself regretting that I didn’t go down, although people would’ve been interested to see how I would’ve tested myself in the NRL.

“Things that are meant to be are meant to be. If I’d gone to the NRL, I wouldn’t be a four-time champion and a Challenge Cup winner.”

Saints boss Kristian Woolf is in no doubt about Walmsley’s class and is convinced he would have been a hit had he taken the plunge in the NRL.

For there is no-one like him as he said: “Alex is unique with his blend of attributes and rugby smartness, I haven’t worked with a player like him.

“Had he gone to the NRL, there’s no doubt he would’ve been a real success. Look at his international performances – if you stand out in those games, that’s every indication you’d be a success.

“And I think he has got improvement in him!”

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