Alex Walmsley believes Luke Thompson will vindicate his belief that his frontrow partner is the world’s best once he lands in the NRL.
After eight seasons of destruction together, the pair will be separated at the end of this season when the St Helens-born forward joins the NRL’s Canterbury Bulldogs.
Walmsley believes the England international is the best prop in the world. And he expects his opinion to be shared more widely once Thompson showcases his talents Down Under.
“We’re going to sorely miss him, there’s no doubt about that,” Walmsley said.
“You only have to look at the way he’s played this season. One player doesn’t make a team and I’m sure the club are looking to bring someone into replace him, but I can’t say we won’t miss him.
“I said after the Grand Final in October that he’s the best frontrower in the world.
“He probably can’t take that tag until he’s in Australia, but I genuinely think he’s going to kill it. I’m not just saying it because he’s a mate; he has all the attributes to go down there and be a superstar, because he’s that good.
“He’ll be a success, there’s no shadow of a doubt. He’ll get the accolades he deserves once he gets there.”
Walmsley himself has had numerous opportunities to move to the NRL, but he decided against it every time.
“My first opportunity was in 2015, then there were a lot of offers after the World Cup in 2017.
“But I just felt there were things in the English game I hadn’t done. I’d not won a Challenge Cup and I’d not been a starting player in a Grand Final.
“But also, I was happy. It’s strange really, you get offered a lot of money to play in the NRL but you can’t put a value on happiness.
“What is it worth? I could have gone and it might have worked out, but I couldn’t have gone with a young family heading into the unknown without grandparents.
“I’m happy where I am. Justin (Holbrook) at the time was the coach and was keen for me to say as well as Rushy (Mike Rush). It was quite easy in the end and you can’t put a price on happiness.”