Infotainment Factory: 'Most gifted since Ponga': Roosters beat rugby to sign teen

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Tuesday, 11 June 2019

'Most gifted since Ponga': Roosters beat rugby to sign teen


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The Sydney Roosters appear to have locked in Cooper Cronk's long-term successor with the Tri-Colours set to unveil teen sensation Sam Walker.

Walker was the most sought after youngster in the NRL and was courted by several clubs including the Cowboys, Broncos, and Titans, as well as Rugby Australia, but it's understood he has penned a two-year deal with the Roosters, reportedly worth a total of $300,000. His uncle Chris Walker played for the Roosters between 2003-2005.

The 16-year-old son of former Brisbane Broncos halfback Ben Walker was on a development deal with his dad's old team however the Broncos let the talented playmaker slip through their fingers.

"It’s very much been driven by Sam, he made his own decision," his dad told the Courier-Mail.

"There was no pressure from me, I’m really proud of the process he went through and he made a measured decision on where he wanted to go.

"There were a number of factors in him choosing the Roosters.

"They are a very stable club with a stable coach. Trent Robinson has very similar beliefs to how Sam plays, which is very important for his development.

"He had a great chat with Luke Keary recently and is very excited by the squad they have there. The Roosters ticked all the boxes."

Sam Walker with Johnathan Thurston

Walker has been touted as the most gifted player to emerge since Kalyn Ponga and will be eligible to play first-grade midway through next year.

He last week guided the Queensland under-18s to a win over NSW in a State of Origin curtain-raiser at Suncorp Stadium.

His other uncle Shane also played in the NRL, but the brotherly duo that coach the Ipswich Jets' Queensland Cup team don't lead the Mal Meninga Cup under-18s Jets side that Walker plays in.

Still, Shane Walker seems to follow his nephew's career closely. He said though the hype about him is at a similar level to that of Ponga, the two are very different on the field.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvlR7GBH-IG/

"People have compared him to Kalyn Ponga but he plays differently to Ponga, Sam is pretty unique in his style," Walker told News Corp.

"He reads play really well, he has a high football IQ for a kid so young and it comes back to his environment, he’s been around football since his earliest years.

"Sam can identify weaknesses in the opposition very quickly, even his kicking style and the way he moves is different to any young halfback I’ve seen.

"There’s no reason that Sam can’t have a long career in the NRL, but he needs to put the hard work in and keep on improving."

https://www.instagram.com/p/BwEdsnOFUpo/

The Ipswich Grammar student spoke of his recent meeting with Roosters coach Trent Robinson and Luke Keary, who he looks set to partner in the halves when Cronk retires at the end of 2019.

"It was really good to sit down and learn. Trent Robinson is the first head (NRL) coach to speak to me about the way I play and I picked up little tips," Walker told QRL.com earlier in the month.

"Trent is the best coach in the NRL at the moment and it is good to hear from the best. I've only ever had my dad and uncle (Shane) correct my game and encourage me how to play, so it was really good to hear his thoughts on how I can become a better player, because I am always learning at the moment.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BykM7exnmEy/

"I am turning 17 very soon [on Sunday] and I know I need to get better and improve."

Current Cronulla Sharks half Kyle Flanagan has also been rumoured to be considering a move to the Sydney Roosters as the club plan for the future following Cronk's departure from the club at season's end.

- with AAP

The Sydney Roosters appear to have locked in Cooper Cronk's long-term successor with the Tri-Colours set to unveil teen sensation Sam Walker.

Walker was the most sought after youngster in the NRL and was courted by several clubs including the Cowboys, Broncos, and Titans, as well as Rugby Australia, but it's understood he has penned a two-year deal with the Roosters, reportedly worth a total of $300,000. His uncle Chris Walker played for the Roosters between 2003-2005.

The 16-year-old son of former Brisbane Broncos halfback Ben Walker was on a development deal with his dad's old team however the Broncos let the talented playmaker slip through their fingers.

"It’s very much been driven by Sam, he made his own decision," his dad told the Courier-Mail.

"There was no pressure from me, I’m really proud of the process he went through and he made a measured decision on where he wanted to go.

"There were a number of factors in him choosing the Roosters.

"They are a very stable club with a stable coach. Trent Robinson has very similar beliefs to how Sam plays, which is very important for his development.

"He had a great chat with Luke Keary recently and is very excited by the squad they have there. The Roosters ticked all the boxes."

Sam Walker with Johnathan Thurston

Walker has been touted as the most gifted player to emerge since Kalyn Ponga and will be eligible to play first-grade midway through next year.

He last week guided the Queensland under-18s to a win over NSW in a State of Origin curtain-raiser at Suncorp Stadium.

His other uncle Shane also played in the NRL, but the brotherly duo that coach the Ipswich Jets' Queensland Cup team don't lead the Mal Meninga Cup under-18s Jets side that Walker plays in.

Still, Shane Walker seems to follow his nephew's career closely. He said though the hype about him is at a similar level to that of Ponga, the two are very different on the field.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvlR7GBH-IG/

"People have compared him to Kalyn Ponga but he plays differently to Ponga, Sam is pretty unique in his style," Walker told News Corp.

"He reads play really well, he has a high football IQ for a kid so young and it comes back to his environment, he’s been around football since his earliest years.

"Sam can identify weaknesses in the opposition very quickly, even his kicking style and the way he moves is different to any young halfback I’ve seen.

"There’s no reason that Sam can’t have a long career in the NRL, but he needs to put the hard work in and keep on improving."

https://www.instagram.com/p/BwEdsnOFUpo/

The Ipswich Grammar student spoke of his recent meeting with Roosters coach Trent Robinson and Luke Keary, who he looks set to partner in the halves when Cronk retires at the end of 2019.

"It was really good to sit down and learn. Trent Robinson is the first head (NRL) coach to speak to me about the way I play and I picked up little tips," Walker told QRL.com earlier in the month.

"Trent is the best coach in the NRL at the moment and it is good to hear from the best. I've only ever had my dad and uncle (Shane) correct my game and encourage me how to play, so it was really good to hear his thoughts on how I can become a better player, because I am always learning at the moment.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BykM7exnmEy/

"I am turning 17 very soon [on Sunday] and I know I need to get better and improve."

Current Cronulla Sharks half Kyle Flanagan has also been rumoured to be considering a move to the Sydney Roosters as the club plan for the future following Cronk's departure from the club at season's end.

- with AAP

http://bit.ly/31qxr3L
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