Matty Lees speaks on his bigger role in Alex Walmsley absence & the threat of Mikolaj Oledzki of Leeds Rhinos

Most teams would struggle without a player akin to Alex Walmsley, but St Helens may not miss him at all as they go in search of a fourth consecutive Super League title.

That’s because young Matty Lees has developed into one of the league’s best forwards in recent seasons after getting over a horror injury sustained in 2019.

Already an England international and now wearing the number 10 shirt vacated by Luke Thompson in 2020, Lees now has a much bigger role in the side and he opened up on this ahead of Saturday’s Grand Final: “I’ve really enjoyed playing big minutes and having a leading role in the middle. It’s tough losing big Al, he’s a big player for us but we have Iggy and Morgs who are just as experienced as me.”

He reached a major milestone in 2022 reaching 1oo games and now likes to think of himself as one of the top props around: “I hit 100 games this year, it was a really special moment for me and the more experience I get the better.

“I like to think of myself as one of the leading front rowers.”

The Saints will need one of the “leading front rowers” to have a terrific game on Saturday night with no Walmsley and against a very good Leeds Rhinos pack.

Lees is expecting the Rhinos to try and get over the middle of them identifying players like Mikolaj Oledzki as a threat: “I think they’re really going to try and get over the top of us in the middle, they’ve got just as good players people like Oledzki, Prior they’re all big names. They’ll be coming after us.”

The question is will Lees get the better of his England teammate and help St Helens to a fourth consecutive title? Time will tell.

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