Alex Walmsley has grown to be one of the most destructive forwards in world rugby league.
Able to devastate defences with his massive carries and stun opponents with his big hits, the St Helens prop is becoming a legend at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
After joining the Batley Bulldogs from amateur side Dewsbury Celtic, Walmsley impressed enough to be given a professional contract at St Helens in 2013 – and he’s never looked back since.
However, that might never have happened had his boyhood club signed him when they had the chance – on numerous occasions!
“I grew up a Leeds Rhinos fan and I had a season ticket there. They are the team I love beating the most now,” Walmsley joked on the Dockhouse Rugby Show.
“They had a few opportunities to sign me did Leeds and they never took it. I love beating them even more than Wigan!”
Now a Saints player, Walmsley never got to play at the iconic Knowsley Road, and whenever he talks to older fans he is reminded of just how much it was loved.
“One thing I always get told when I speak to the fans and the older generation is that they loved Knowsley Road and the atmosphere there was something else.
“The atmosphere we have now at the Totally Wicked Stadium is brilliant but they say it doesn’t come close to Knowsley Road.”
Walmsley did also reveal that sometimes the expectation at Saints has led to comments from fans when they lose.
“One thing you can say about fans is they are honest. If you are doing well they will back you but they will tell you if you aren’t winning games.
“That comes with the territory, though, there has been sometimes a toxic feel on the pitch and the fans have been disillusioned because we weren’t doing what we should be on the pitch.
“There is a high level of expectation at this club and rightly so because we’re a massive club.”