Injured St Helens star could be asked to play through pain in play-off against Salford Red Devils

Alex Walmsley is fighting to overcome a foot injury and was spotted wearing a moon boot at the Super League Dream Team launch.

St Helens towering prop Alex Walmsley.
St Helens towering prop Alex Walmsley.
St Helens towering prop Alex Walmsley.

Battle-hardened England prop Alex Walmsley is fighting to overcome a foot injury in time to face Salford Red Devils in the semi-final of the Betfred Super League play-off at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Walmsley sustained the injury in Saints’ 30-10 defeat by Wigan Warriors nine days ago and wore a moon boot at the Betfred Super League Dream Team launch in which he featured alongside team-mates James Roby, Jack Welsby and Morgan Knowles.

“It was a bit innocuous to be honest and I wasn’t too aware of it at the time,” he said. “It was more the after-effects."

The injury brings back memories for Walmsley of 2020 when he tore a knee cartilage in Saints’ semi-final win over Catalans Dragons and played through the pain barrier to help them beat Wigan 8-4 in the Grand Final before undergoing surgery.

“I don’t think it’s bothering me as much as my knee did then and hopefully we’ll get some good news,” Walmsley added.

St Helens coach Kristian Woolf admits the injury to Super League’s top front rower is a concern and says he could once more be asked to go through the pain barrier.

“It could be a similar situation,” Woolf said following the Dream Team unveiling.

“It could be one where he has got to play with the injury and in some pain. Players do that all the time.

“There’s a big difference between playing hurt and playing injured. If you’re injured you can’t perform, but if you’re hurt and dealing with pain, players do that all the time.

“He showed in the 2020 semi-final and Grand Final that he can play under some duress and with some pain and still get a job done because he’s a very elite player, the best front rower in the competition. We’re a much better team with him in.

“Obviously he’s a key player for us and, if he can contribute, we’ll have him out on the field.

“We’re very hopeful he’s going to be fine but, if he’s not, a guy like Agnatius Paasi, who has been one of our best forwards this year, will probably get an opportunity to become a starter.

“He’s been wanting an opportunity to start and I know he would thrive in that situation."

The semi-final, which will be screened live by both Sky and Channel 4, kicks-off at  1pm.