Alex Walmsley is set to make his England debut tomorrow less than five years after taking his bow in the professional ranks with Batley Bulldogs.
John Kear enticed Walmsley to Batley in 2012 during which he featured 22 times for the Bulldogs before moving to Super Lague giants St Helens.
At 27-years-old, Dewsbury-born Walmsley is now set for the biggest stage of all when England take on Australia in the opening game of the World Cup in Melbourne tomorrow.
Walmsley pulled on an England jersey for the first time in last Friday’s warm-up match against a Combined Affiliated States side in Perth, which saw them run out convincing 74-12 winners.
Walmsley has been named on the bench tomorrow and admits he is relishing the prospect of facing Australia.
Speaking after last week’s warm-up game, Walmsley said: “It was a proud moment (pulling on the England shirt). It doesn’t count as a cap yet but it was good to get the jersey on and to represent my country.
“You do not feel part of a team fully until you go out on the field with the boys and I got to do that (last week) and enjoyed the experience.”
Walmsley came in for praise having been singled out for some big hits by the Australian States side and admitted he enjoyed facing up to the challenge.
He added: “You can’t go into a Test game against Australia without having taken a few hits and it was good to get a few.
“You can only go so far in training and you need real opposition in front of you who will throw unpredictable things at you and they (Combined States) did that.
“There are a few things to work on but I’m sure we’ll identify those this week.”
Two former Bulldogs players will be involved in tomorrow’s World Cup opener as Huddersfield Giants winger Jermaine McGillvary earns his sixth England Test cap.
McGillvary made 22 appearances and scored 20 tries for Batley in 2009 before moving to the Giants.
However, Bulldogs full-back Dave Scott is set to miss Scotland’s World Cup opener against Tonga in Carins this Sunday.
Scott was among Scotland’s try scorers in their 50-14 warm-up defeat against the Country U23s side but Catalans Dragons player Lewis Tierney has been handed the number one jersey for the Tonga game.