Sport Roosters' Walker welcomes Storm challenge
Roosters set to hand off-contract whiz-kid Sam Walker long-term deal
The Roosters were keen to extend the contract of Sam Walker before a ball had even been kicked this year. They were told to wait until after round six.
James Tedesco has warned NRL rivals to target teen sensation Sam Walker at their peril as the Sydney Roosters half prepares for the biggest challenge of his burgeoning football career on Friday night.
Walker showed on Saturday he has more than just pure skill, bouncing back from being targeted in defence to engineer a remarkable 26-18 comeback win over Cronulla.
His late seven-minute blitz produced two try assists with cut-out balls and a maiden four-pointer of his own.
But Walker will face an even sterner test against Melbourne in just his third NRL game.
Walker NRL ready after football-free 2020
Sam Walker is in line to become the Sydney Roosters' youngest halfback since Mitchell Pearce, with a football-free 2020 set to help him settle into the NRL.Walker's NRL debut on Sunday against the Warriors comes on the back of 18 months of hype, after being labelled Cooper Cronk's long-term replacement in 2019.
The Roosters fully expect the Storm to direct plenty of traffic at their young half, who weighs in at just 78kg and is the second lightest player in the NRL.
Melbourne will have the 105kg Kenny Bromwich running directly at Walker, while fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen and their forwards will no doubt spend plenty of time in that channel.
Not that it concerns Roosters captain Tedesco, who watched Walker recover from being run over early by the Sharks before leading the late charge from 18-4 down with 18 minutes to play.
"You wouldn't think he is an 18-year-old who has only played two first-grade games," Tedesco said.
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"He just plays footy and that's how he was brought up.
Walker's life as NRL son set up calm debut
Sam Walker has grown up in the NRL all his life, and it helped him handle the hype surrounding his own assured debut for the Sydney Roosters.Walker's Sydney Roosters bow on Sunday came almost two years after he was recruited from Brisbane amid headlines of being Cooper Cronk's replacement.
"He doesn't get flustered. He doesn't dwell on things. He just plays what he sees, no matter what the score is.
"(Chad) Townsend was giving it to him, but cop that Townsend. He showed him how to play footy.
"They were going after him but it doesn't faze him if you run over him... he'll still carve you up."
Walker is ready to embrace the challenge, admitting he needs to be better in defence while still holding his own given his size and youth.
"I was expecting that (against Cronulla) and we will look forward to it (against Melbourne)," Walker said.
"They are always going to come at the little fellow on the field and I have got to own that."
Making Walker's performance even more remarkable is the fact that the win over Cronulla was just his fourth competitive game against men.
"It's harder (than lower grades) but it's also easier because everyone knows their role and knows their job, so you just have to do your job," Walker said.
"It made my job easier having Teddy there and a few of the older boys talking through what we needed to do."
Sydney Roosters stalwart Jake Friend retires from NRL because of concussion concerns .
The three-time premiership player calls time on his 264-match NRL career following extensive medical advice in the wake of his most recent concussion.Friend, a three-time premiership winner with the Roosters, said he made the decision in the wake of suffering a third concussion in less than six months.