INJURED scrum-half Luke Walsh believes Saints can still surprise a few people and go on and win the Super League.
Speaking to the Star in his first interview since breaking his leg and dislocating his ankle in July’s game against Widnes, the quietly-spoken Australian said the Saints squad is still strong enough to take out the top prize – with a special emphasis placed on the pack.
Walsh, who was signed from Penrith Panthers to be the linchpin of the Saints team, also acknowledged the hundreds of messages of support he has received since suffering the horrific season ending injury.
Walsh said: “The injury was devastating from a team point of view. We had everyone back on the field then we got a couple of major setbacks – me, Jonny Lomax and Jon Wilkin all got injured.
“It’s harder with the semis coming too, it is going to be hard watching, but there is no doubt the boys can still do it.
“We have a great forward pack and classy outside backs. There is no doubt we can be there on the big stage, but it will take a lot of hard work.
“There is no doubt we have the best forward pack in the comp and if they stand up and help those outside backs.”
Walsh is now in his third cast since being operated on July – and the full details of his injury showed he did not do it by halves.
“I have never had a big injury and this certainly is the worst of my career," he said.
“I broke my leg, broke a bit of my ankle and tore some of my ligaments where the ankle was dislocated.
“The bit that actually came out was not broken – it was dislocated – and that is why the outcome has been pretty good. I have the best case scenario. They had the re-attach all the ligaments,” he said.
Initially, however, in those awful minutes when he was being led off in agony on the stretcher, Walsh thought that his career was over.
Walsh said: “When I was coming off and I was on the bed it I thought that was it, that was my footy career over. I was thinking all sorts of stuff.
“Thankfully it is going pretty good and the cast comes off in five weeks and then I’ll have a boot on for four weeks and I can get back walking.
“It wasn’t as bad as we first feared and has ended up being pretty good but it is just a long process. It’s been a frustrating year as I’ve had a few injuries this year, which has been disappointing.”
Walsh is Saints’ most high profile cheerleader from the stands, and at the ground and in the streets he has been overwhelmed by messages of support and good wishes.
Although he comes over as a quiet, shy person, he wished to thank the fans for their support during this tough, frustrating time.
“I can’t thank the fans enough. Ever since I have been here they have been unbelievable. All the support I’ve had since I have done the injury has been crazy. I’ve had people coming up to me saying get well and that they have missed me and it has surprised me.
“I don’t really talk much – but I can’t thank them enough; they are the best fans I’ve been involved with. They have even got songs for me and Mose.
“I will be watching and cheering them on but I’m not a good watcher.”
Walsh is heading back to Australia for the winter to assist his rehabilitation, but he will be back towards the end of the pre-season.
“I’ll go home back to Australia after the Grand Final to do my rehab and recovery and then return for some of pre-season. I’ve already been around the boys and into training. I’ve been doing weights and stuff. I’m sure the injury should not take too long to sort out,” Walsh said.