NRL Clubs Lining Up For English Giant


 NRL Clubs Lining Up For English Giant Getty Images

England's in-demand big bopper Alex Walmsley will make his international debut on Saturday, with NRL scouts around the country certain to tune in.

Walmsley, the 115kg wrecking ball who topped the Super League for metres gained this year, has attracted the interest of several Australian clubs.

The St Helens prop was forced to miss England's World Cup opener against Australia because of a virus.

But coach Wayne Bennett has confirmed he will unleash Walmsley this weekend, when his side face Lebanon at Sydney's Allianz Stadium.

Tom Burgess, one of many members of England's squad to make a successful transition from Super League to the NRL, says there is a lot to like about Walmsley's brutal approach.

"He's had a great year at Saints, a great couple of years," Burgess said.

"He makes so many metres, he's such a handful to put down.

"I was gutted for the lad to miss out last week and he'll be making up for it ... putting on a show for the Australian crowd."

Newcastle, Parramatta, Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra reportedly lead the race to sign Walmsley.

Veteran hooker James Roby, who played alongside Walmsley at St Helens, believes his club teammate is ready to step as England chase their first win of the World Cup.

"I'm confident he'll do that. He's been training very well and he's a big lad. He's awkward (to play against), he attracts defenders towards him," Roby said.

"He runs very hard, he's very big. He's a tough player, he'll give it his all.

"He'll come on and you'll see a few tackle busts and a few big hits. He's all action, high impact."

Jermaine McGillvary, who earned widespread praise after crossing for England's only try in their 18-4 loss to the Kangaroos, has already turned heads in Australia but it's unlikely the winger will join the NRL.

McGillvary's current contract with Huddersfield runs until the end of the 2020 season, while his son is part of soccer club Manchester City's academy set-up.

"I don't think there has ever been interest from Australia so it's never crossed my mind," the 29-year-old said.

"It's a nice place, the best league in the world .. you never say never.

"I'm on a good contract at Huddersfield. It's not for me to put myself out there ... if clubs are interested that's nice but it's not going to be easy for me to get out."