Super League play-offs: St Helens prop Alex Walmsley thanks coach

Alex Walmsley
Alex Walmsley was playing in the Championship with Batley before his move to St Helens
Super League play-off semi-final
Venue: Headingley Date: Friday, 2 October Kick-off: 20:00 BST Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Radio Merseyside and via the BBC Sport website and app, plus live scores online.

St Helens prop Alex Walmsley has thanked head coach Keiron Cunningham for his role in his displays this year.

Walmsley has been one of the stand-out forwards in Super League this season and has been nominated for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award.

He signed a new long-term deal in April after interest from Australian sides.

"In terms of rugby league it has been the best year of my life and I think that stems off the back of Keiron Cunningham," the 25-year-old said.

"When he got announced as head coach he sat me down and talked a lot about my upcoming year and told me I would be playing a lot more minutes this year, and he expected a lot more of me.

"When you've got the backing of your head coach from the start of the year, it puts a lot of confidence in your and really spurs you on to be the best that you can," he told BBC Radio Merseyside.

The Rhinos challenge

St Helens
St Helens beat Wigan 14-6 in the 2014 Grand Final at Old Trafford

If St Helens are to retain their Super League title, they will have to beat a Leeds Rhinos side in the play-off semi-final - a team who they have lost to three times already this season.

Saints did beat the Yorkshire side when they met at Headingley last month, but head coach Cunningham is well aware of the threat of the League Leaders' Shield winners and Challenge Cup holders.

"Leeds have been our Achilles heels this year," said the 38-year-old.

"We've played then four times and we've beat them once and that was on the back of a Challenge Cup game.

"It will be a real true test of where we're at as a club I believe and I don't by anything into Leeds aren't going well.

"Regardless of what club you are from, Leeds have been consistently the best team in the competition all year."

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