Alex Walmsley has revealed he is aiming to return for St Helens’ World Club Series showdown with Sydney Roosters.
Walmsley has spent the off-season recovering from shoulder and ankle surgery and has yet to feature in any of Saints’ pre-season outings.
But in his monthly column in Rugby League World magazine, the Man of Steel nominee admitted that he has pencilled in the big match on Friday 18 February as his return date.
“I’ll be aiming for a place in the team for that game for sure,” writes Walmsley.
“After our disappointing performance in last year’s game against the Rabbitohs, despite the amount of effort and preparation we put into it, everyone at the club is relishing the opportunity to put that right with a good showing against the Roosters this time round and hopefully right a few wrongs.
“It will certainly be a motivating factor. I wouldn’t say I know too much about the Roosters line-up at the moment, as we’re currently focusing on our pre-season friendlies and the start of Super League, where getting off to a strong start will be our aim. If we can start the season well, we will go into the World Club Series with a bit of momentum behind us.”
The prospect of playing in a World Club Series is a massive appeal to the 25-year-old, and he believes, win or lose, Saints and the other Super League teams can benefit greatly from taking part.
“The World Club Series is a great benchmarking exercise for our game,” he writes.
“We can see how we are doing against clubs from the top competition in the world. The NRL has much more strength in depth than Super League because they have a lot more people playing Rugby League at every level. That’s the biggest difference that remains.
“If the British teams can do well in the World Club Series, it will also provide a psychological boost for us when we play the Kiwis and Australians in the Four Nations at the end of the season.
“I get asked a lot if I have any ambition to play in the NRL, but I’m very happy at St Helens. I would never rule it out completely, but I want to concentrate on being the best Super League player I can be at Saints for the foreseeable future.”