St Helens forward Alex Walmsley has said he can see himself retiring at the club, as he prepares to celebrate his testimonial.
Walmsley signed for Saints ahead of the 2013 season from Championship side Batley. He enjoyed an unusual route to the top level.
He did not play at scholarship or academy level for any club, and played at an amateur level for Dewsbury Celtic and for Leeds Metropolitan University.
In 2012, he then signed for Batley and made an immediate impact. In his only season there, he won their Player of the Year award, as well as the Championship Young Player of the Year.
Off the back of that, he signed for St Helens, and has never looked back since.
When asked if he thought he could reach the level he has, Walmsley said: “No is probably the simple answer. I think considering I’d only had one year at championship level and prior to that was always amateur.
“The opportunity to come to St Helens was, I don’t like to use the word punt, I’d like to think I was a bit more of a punt, but I was definitely a project.
“It was never in my wildest dreams when I thought I’d still be here in 10 years time. To have played the games I’ve played and won the stuff I’ve won it’s been wonderful roller coaster.
“Especially being at Batley, if you’d have asked me would I be going on to have 10 years at St Helens, it wouldn’t entered my mind.”
Walmsley keen to be “one Super League club man”
When asked about his future, particularly his links to the NRL, Walmsley added: “I’d love to sort of start and finish my career at St Helens.
“A lot could happen between and now and end of my career. I know that but the club have shown what it means to me. And I like to feel like I’ve shown what the club means to myself.
“I’m hopeful that should bell toll, I will still be at St Helens and be allowed to finish my career. But we’ll see what happens in the next few years. But that’s definitely in the forefront of my mind.”