Dewsbury-born Walmsley reflects on ‘unbelievable’ rise to the top

Alex Walmsley
Alex Walmsley
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DEWSBURY LAD Alex Walmsley admits his England call-up is a dream come true.

The St Helens prop has been named in coach Wayne Bennett’s squad to face Samoa in Sydney next week, despite not making his professional debut for Batley Bulldogs until he was 22.

“I was playing for Leeds Met University and Dewsbury Celtic about five-and-a-half years ago,” Walmsley, now 27, recalled.

“I’d not even signed for Batley as I was on trial there.

“To be where I was, knocking about with my mates on a local field and where I am now, heading to Australia as part of a 20-man squad playing against Samoa, is unbelievable.”

Walmsley admitted he never considered a professional career before being snapped up by Batley.

“My aim was finishing university and being a quantity surveyor,” he said. “It wasn’t even signing for Batley. To get a trial there was unbelievable.

“It has been one milestone after another – signing for Batley, playing in the Championship, signing for Saints, playing Super League, playing in a Grand Final. The last five years have been such an unbelievable time. Being in the England squad now caps it.”

Meanwhile, former Castleford Tigers winger Justin Carney, who is accused of racist abuse, will appear at a disciplinary hearing next week after the Rugby Football League agreed to his club Salford’s request for a week’s delay.