Alex Walmsley targets a spot in Saints' 17

St Helens Star: Alex Walmsley pictured with John Kear and Mike Rush. Alex Walmsley pictured with John Kear and Mike Rush.

SAINTS’ newest recruit Alex Walmsley reports to pre-season training for the first time on Monday with a target to break into the 17 in the year ahead.

The 22-year-old former Batley prop, who has signed up on a three year deal, is relishing the challenge facing him as he steps up from the Championship.

Although he has been following the weights programme sent to him by conditioner Matt Daniels to prepare him for the full time environment, he knows he is going to be in for a rude awakening on Monday.

But the challenge of pulling on the red vee in Super League is one he can’t wait for.

Walmsley told the Star: “It is going to be a massive jump – it was big enough going from Dewsbury Celtic up to Batley. But to go up another notch is an even bigger challenge, but that is what I am looking forward to most.”

Measuring 6ft5, Walmsley is Saints’ tallest forward since Peter Shiels last galloped around Knowsley Road in 2002 and that size brings a bonus with deceptive speed and an offload game.

The full time training environment will, however, help fill out Walmsley’s frame to make his physical presence tell in the thick of the action.

“I am hoping the benefits of full time training will help me. I have never done a full pre-season before because I have always played in the winter going back to the amateur days.

“I will be going into this one completely fresh and I am sure that will do wonders for me. The pre-season regime will be a shock to the system but I am sure it will do me some good long term.

“My target this year is to try and break into the 17. I know it is going to be tough because there are a lot of really good players who are already settled. But that is my goal – whether that is for four or five games or for most of the season we’ll see how it goes,” he said.

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