BIG Alex Walmsley's confident and brave attitude in the build-up to Friday's Grand Final convinced the Saints coaching staff that they had to put his name on the teamsheet despite him tearing his knee cartilage in the semi-final.

Walmsley led from the front despite not being 100 per cent, with his presence giving Saints a huge physical and psychological boost in the toughest, most physical and intensely compelling Grand Final for years.

Coach Kristian Woolf hailed not simply his prop's bravery in playing though the pain barrier - but the quality of his performance in taking the game to Warriors.

Woolf said: "There was a bit of doubt earlier in the week – but that was something that we did not want to make much of a noise about before the game.

"Big Al deserves a lot of credit; it is pretty brave to go out there knowing that you have got the damage to your knee and that it could obviously backfire as well.

"He did that really well and was brave enough to not just go out there play, but to play really well as well.

"You could see that he probably was not as comfortable and was not moving as freely as he can at his best, but he was still the dominant front rower in the game and did a good job in doing that."

The staff took their lead from Walmsley's own attitude as Grand Final week progressed, and that re-assured them that putting his name down on the teamsheet was the correct decision.

"He wanted to lead from the front," Woolf said.

"I was really happy for the way he did that and went about his game.

"So although there was some doubt earlier in the week, he convinced us all that he was going to get through it and that is why we were willing to put him out there.

"He showed so much confidence in himself that we took confidence from that.

"Al is obviously a big player for us and goes a long way to leading our forward pack. He gives us a bit of presence and we are a different team when he plays.

"We cant put all the weight on Al’s shoulders and rely on him every week but he has got the reputation he has got because of what you do every week. He has continued to do that."

Walmsley will undergo surgery now, but will be back in time for the pre-season preparations.

At the moment, Saints appear to have come through the gruelling campaign relatively unscathed - with just one more player requiring surgery.

"The only other one is Morgan Knowles with a thumb injury, but we have actually come through pretty well in that department," Woolf said.