Rugby Australia has missed out on one of Australia’s rising dual-code talents, with 16 year-old teen Sam Walker set to sign with NRL club Sydney Roosters.
Walker was the most sought after youngster in the NRL and was courted by several clubs and Rugby Australia but it’s understood he has penned a two-year deal with the Roosters.
The gifted playmaker plays rugby league for the Ipswich Jets and rugby union for his school Ipswich Grammar, although was already on a development deal with the Brisbane Broncos.
He has been touted as the most gifted player to emerge since Kalyn Ponga, who also played rugby union in high school, and will be eligible to play first-grade midway through next year.
“People have compared him to Kalyn Ponga but he plays differently to Ponga, Sam is pretty unique in his style,” his uncle Shane 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.”
He last week guided the Queensland under-18s to a win over NSW in a State of Origin curtain-raiser at Suncorp Stadium.
He recently met 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.
“I am turning 17 very soon and I know I need to get better and improve.”
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