Alex Walmsley has come a long way since Francis Cummins set him on the road to Super League stardom well over a decade ago.
The St Helens prop was a young boy when Cummins formed a rugby league team from the school in Dewsbury where his wife worked.
“I started Alex playing and have known him since he was nine or ten,” recalled the Bulls coach.
“I went into my wife’s school and helped set up a game with another school and from there a team was formed. Alex was one of the kids involved.”
Walmsley went on to play for Cummins’ old amateur club, Dewsbury Celtic, and rose to prominence playing for Leeds Metropolitan University and Batley Bulldogs.
Cummins added: “Alex did okay as a junior but stopped playing the game for a bit and piled a load of weight on.
“Going to Dewsbury Celtic helped him to get going again and he then went to university, where he got his degree and did really well with his rugby league.”
Saints signed him ahead of the 2013 season and his agent, former Bulls chairman Chris Caisley, is believed to have fielded enquiries from NRL clubs about the 24-year-old.
Cummins said: “Alex is still relatively young for a prop but I believe he can go on and play for England.”