This article was originally in the December 19th edition of League Express. To read the biggest stories first, buy League Express every week in stores or online at https://pocketmags.com/league-express-magazine.
St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham believes new signing Adam Walker has the potential to become one of the best props in the world.
Walker is one of several new faces at the Totally Wicked Stadium for 2017 after agreeing a two-year deal with the club following Hull KR’s relegation from Super League.
Cunningham has long been an admirer of the prop, and he told League Express he thinks the 25-year-old has all the tools to get even better.
“His contract was up at the end of next season and I was going to have a shot at him then,” said Cunningham.
“I’ve followed his career closely and he’s getting better and better. In a system like ours I think he will really flourish. I honestly think he could go on and become one of the best forwards in the game.
“He’s training with some exceptional athletes. The shock of Hull KR going down was massive, but it was an opportunity to get the deal done early and fortunately we got it done. He’s the final piece of our jigsaw.”
Cunningham is also expecting big things from another new signing – former Wigan halfback Matty Smith, who the St Helens coach insists will be “unleashed” on Super League in 2017.
“Matty Smith is consistently the best halfback in the competition, he kicks the ball better than anyone else,” he said.
“With him and Theo Fages, you’ve got something really exciting. I thought Matty was limited the way he played at Wigan, but we’re going to unleash him, which will suit him. He’s revelling in it already, and he and Theo look absolutely brilliant in training.”
Meanwhile, Cunningham is confident that St Helens can challenge for honours in 2017 after putting together a squad which he believes that, after two years in charge, is one he can finally call his own.
“This season, it genuinely feels like it’s my side,” he said.
“I’ve moved players on who I had no say in bringing here and who I felt were letting the team down. I believe that with the group of players we’ve got now, everyone will be fighting for the same cause.
“Two years on now, I think everyone involved in the club understands my ethos and how much I care about this club. If you don’t do the right things here, you won’t be here under me – it’s as simple as that.”