Alex Walmsley targets return for St Helens’ play-off semi-final

St Helens prop Alex Walmsley is confident he will be fit for the Super League semi-finals despite being sidelined with a foot injury.

The England international suffered the injury in Saints’ derby defeat at Wigan Warriors a fortnight ago and missed the final two matches of the regular season.

He was wearing a precautionary boot on his left foot when he joined his team-mates to lift the League Leaders’ Shield and when he was unveiled in the Super League Dream Team for the third year in succession the following day.

But Walmsley believes he should get the green light to line up for the defending champions on September 17.

“It’s a precautionary boot, it’s definitely not a fashion statement,” said Walmsley.

“It’s the ligaments in my foot. It was done in the Wigan game, but at the time I didn’t think too much about it.

“I will get the specialist’s verdict on it and hopefully he will give me the big green tick.”

Saints also hope to have Will Hopoate (hamstring), Mark Percival (knee) and Sione Mata’utia (foot) back from injuries just in time for the play-off campaign.

And while Dan Norman failed a head-injury assessment in their previous match against Toulouse Olympique, he too could be in contention if he completes the protocols this week.

A Saints side near to full strength would be favourites to reach the Grand Final, after a season in which they have mostly looked a cut above their opponents.

Walmsley has been one of the standouts, as acknowledged by selection in the Dream Team for the third season in running – and fourth in total – alongside team-mates Jack Welsby, James Roby and Morgan Knowles.

“It is always pleasing to make this team, it’s a very unique team,” said Walmsley.

“But it’s a team effort. We speak about it all the time; we only get individual accolades because the team is performing so well.

“We have four members in the team this year and we’ve had a few in the team for the past couple of seasons. That is down to what we do as a team and a club.”

Meanwhile, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook has signed a one-year deal to remain at Saints for a 13th season.

“I am over the moon to do another year here at such a great club,” said the 36-year-old, who recently surpassed the landmark of 400 Super League matches.

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