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St Helens star Alex Walmsley gives update on Super League future amid NRL links

Alex Walmsley has played down reports linking him with the NRL, saying he wants to extend his St Helens deal.

The Great Britain prop is wanted by Canterbury Bulldogs, the team his Saints team-mate Luke Thompson joined during lockdown.

A stunning performance in the 48-0 win over Leeds on Sunday, which included a barnstorming try, will increase attention on him.

But Walmsley insists he’s going nowhere, saying: “I am very happy at Saints and have two and a half years left on my contract.

“I’m looking to see those years out and hopefully extend. I am happy with what we’re aiming to achieve.”

Walmsley in action during Saints’ recent clash with Leeds

The 30-year-old also set up a try for Theo Fages on the back of a devastating break, defying fears that the new rules would hamper bigger players.

Walmsley, 6ft 5in and 18stone, said: “It is tougher. There was a lot of talk that it is going to be the end for big men and it might be.

“It isn’t made for the bigger forwards but I am thankful I have got 16 men around me who do a lot of graft and probably make me look better than I am.”

The combination of the newly introduced six-again rule, plus no scrums, has speeded the game up, with the ball in play far more.

Walmsley is linked with a move to Australia
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Some sides have struggled to adapt since lockdown but champions Saints have taken the new rules by storm.

They have scored 82 points against Leeds and Catalans, only conceding six, and Rhinos skipper Luke Gale fears they’ve already stolen a march on everyone else.

The half back said: “It looks like Saints are playing a different game to the rest of us.

“They have really got to grips with the new rules and play the game so quick that it’s hard for anyone to stop them.

“They are running harder and tackling harder. They dominate in the middle and are moving the ball about less so big guys like Alex Walmsley get the benefit because his tank is on full and he’s unplayable.

Walmsley is tackled during Saints’ win over Leeds last weekend

“They are conserving energy by finishing their sets, turning the ball over in the right places and being really disciplined.”

The nilling – their first at home since 1992 – dropped Leeds from first to fourth but Gale insists it’s only a blip.

He said: “We are not going to panic just because we have been blown out of the water by Saints.

“We have still got a game in hand and we’re in a good spot. We just need to fix a few things up.

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“I’m not going to blame injuries but we had a few missing and we’ll hopefully get them back for Wigan on Saturday.”

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