St Helens boss hails ‘remarkable’ Alex Walmsley as ‘influential’ forward makes stunning early return from injury

Josh McAllister
Alex Walmsley back in action for St Helens.

Expected to be out for the remainder of the season, destructive forward Alex Walmsley marked a stunning early return from injury against Hull in a huge boost for St Helens. 

The 33-year-old powerhouse suffered an MCL injury during the Challenge Cup semi-final tie with Leigh Leopards and looked set to be sidelined for the rest of 2023.

However, the England international made his return from the interchange bench in the Round 27 clash at the Totally Wicked Stadium after a extraordinary rehab process.

He was introduced to the action just before the half hour mark on Friday as the reigning champions claimed their ninth consecutive Super League win with a 30-12 scoreline over Tony Smith’s Black & Whites.

It’s a massive boost for Paul Wellens’ side, with Walmsley having started in three out of the last four Grand Final victories – missing the 2022 triumph over Leeds Rhinos through injury.

His return is also positive news for England ahead of the test series with Tonga at the end of the year, having been named in Shaun Wane’s initial 40-man squad earlier this year.

Saints boss hails Alex Walmsley and his remarkable return

“He’s obviously a hugely influential player,” Wellens said.

“He’s been a big part of our success and he’s very tough to handle. That’s the reason we love him and he’s devastating when he’s at his best.

“I have to pay credit to him. When he got injured, we got the scan results and the season was done.

“I can’t tell you how hard he’s worked in the last eight or nine weeks with the mindset of getting back for potentially the Grand Final should we get there.

“What he’s done is get on the training field and said ‘I don’t feel too bad. I feel a little bit better’ and as the weeks and days have passed by his progress has been remarkable.

“So all that’s down to him and all his efforts.”

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