Alex Walmsley has told The Sportsman’s weekly rugby league show ‘The Last Tackle’ that he and his St Helens team-mates knew they were going to do something special ahead of Saturday’s thrilling World Cup Challenge win over Penrith Panthers.
The Saints became only the second British club to win the competition on Australian soil, 29 years on from Wigan’s victory over the Brisbane Broncos, as Lewis Dodd’s golden-point drop-goal saw them over the line in a 13-12 thriller at BlueBet Stadium.
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And Walmsley insists that the feeling within the camp running up to the historic victory was that Saints could get the job done against the heavily-fancied Panthers.
“They went in as heavy favourites and rightly so, you’ll know from Betfred what the odds were. I think we might have been 7/1 or 8/1,” Walmsley concedes. “We’re not here to discredit any of those odds, we knew the task at hand was massive. But we had so much belief going into that game, we knew we were going to do something special.
“We’re just proud to be back on home soil with that trophy having achieved something special and something that we are, as a team and a club, very proud of.”
The England prop adds that the character to drag themselves over the finish line even after Brian To’o’s dramatic 70th-minute equalising try came from the reserves of a winning culture that has been built on the back of four back-to-back Betfred Super League titles.
“The try in the last minute was a crushing blow, it was a tough moment to go from being 60 seconds away from being World Club Champions to heading to extra-time,” he adds. “It was another mountain we had to climb but we were ready for it.
“We’ve been in tough circumstances before but the one key to glory that we’ve had over the last four or five years is that we know how to win big games, and in big moments we know how to be on the right end of them.
“That’s what the key was, just staying calm and sticking to our principles and our processes. We knew we needed one chance, and we got that opportunity fairly early on and thankfully Lewis Dodd got it over.”
The full interview with the triumphant Saints prop can be seen as part of this week’s edition of ‘The Last Tackle’, which will be available on The Sportsman Rugby League on YouTube from 6pm on Wednesday.
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