Sport Roosters set to hand off-contract whiz-kid Sam Walker long-term deal
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 Sydney Roosters will sit down with Sam Walker next week to begin to negotiate a long-term extension to keep the teenage sensation at the club.
Walker, touted as one of the best young players in the game, has been a revelation in his first two games in the NRL and led the Roosters to a come-from-behind win against Cronulla on Saturday night.
The Alaskan radio 'nerd' listening to Tasmania from 13,000km away
Only a true radio 'nerd' would brave the snow and set-up antennae in the freezing cold just to hear distant transmissions, but that is all part of the fun for Alaska's Paul Walker Jr — and his new favourite is an Australian radio station on the other side of the world. "I am actually 13,000 kilometres away in Alaska, USA, in a small village called McGrath. We're a community of 300 people about 370km northwest of Anchorage," Mr Walker said. While it might sound far away from Hobart, there are some similarities. "Everyone knows everyone here, and most of us are related somehow," Walker said.
The off-contract 18-year-old, who set up two tries and scored another to steal victory from the Sharks, would be one of the most sought-after players in the game if he was to take expressions of interest. Although rival clubs stand little chance at prying the Queenslander away from the Roosters' grasp.
The Roosters were keen to extend the contract of Walker before a ball had even been kicked this year, however, his manager, Clinton Schifcofske, and father, former player Ben Walker, indicated they wanted to wait until after the first six rounds before sitting down to discuss his future.
Walker's value has skyrocketed over the past fortnight since making his debut in round four against the Warriors, and the Roosters aren't surprised by what they have seen from the playmaker.
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.
The Herald contacted South Sydney to gauge whether they had signalled an interest in Walker given the uncertainty around Adam Reynolds' future beyond the end of this year.
The Rabbitohs insist they won't be trying to steal one back from their arch rivals despite the Roosters nabbing the likes of Joseph Suaalii, Angus Crichton and Luke Keary from South Sydney in recent years.
Walker grew up a Roosters fan and even went to the same school - Ipswich Grammar in Queensland - as chairman Nick Politis. The club, led by coach Trent Robinson, has a very high opinion of Walker both as a player and as a person, which is set to be reflected in the deal he will likely sign in the coming weeks.
Walker is also looking at purchasing real estate in the Eastern Suburbs, such is his desire to remain at the tricolours.
Tigers play by the rules
The Wests Tigers and Penrith Panthers aren't the best of friends as it is, with the Tigers harbouring plenty of the animosity given the events that unfolded around their former coach Ivan Cleary.
The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 5
The trend of big victories reached fever pitch in the NRL last weekend, but there could be more on the cards as Round 5 rolls around. The Roar’s NRL expert tipping panel are here to tell you who is winning what. With all of the first four games in Round 4 being one-way traffic, viewers will be hoping for a more competitive edge to start Round 5. Unfortunately, the Rabbitohs going up against the Broncos isn’t shaping up as that, with the Broncos competitive for about 20 minutes last week before being rolled by the Ryan Papenhuyzen show.
Perhaps it's partly why Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe phoned the NRL on Friday night after watching a sellout crowd celebrate Penrith's win against the Raiders.
As a result of Pascoe's phone call, the Panthers may now find themselves in hot water after breaching NRL and state government COVID restrictions in regards to venue capacity.
The NRL has asked Panthers officials for a please explain after fans packed the hill at BlueBet Stadium. Apparently, it's OK for fans to sit side-by-side in the grandstand, but not for more than one person per two square metres on the hill. Go figure.
Regardless, the Panthers breached the rules when 20,890 turned up for the match in what was the biggest crowd at the venue since May 2018.
Penrith chief executive Brian Fletcher took responsibility for the error when contacted by the Herald, adamant that he misunderstood the directions from the NRL in a recent phone hook-up and informed staff that they could begin selling all tickets.
Behind the Tigers' complaint was the fact they only sold limited tickets to Sunday's sellout at Leichhardt Oval and were unable to pack the iconic hill.
Sydney Roosters legend Jake Friend officially announces retirement after 264 NRL games
Sydney Roosters captain Jake Friend has officially announced his retirement from rugby league, following a stellar career that will see him go down as a club legend. The 31-year old has been out since the first round of the season, where he suffered a nasty concussion and has not returned due to his history with head injuries. After consultation with specialists and club doctors, Friend has now made the difficult decision to hang up the boots immediately after 264 NRL games. “I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the Roosters and rugby league,” said Friend.
The Tigers missed out on thousands of dollars, while the Panthers enjoyed a nice little pay day from having both the northern and southern hills at full capacity.
De Belin has day in court
Jack de Belin is in court on Monday as he fights rape allegations that have put his career on hold for the past two years. Just don't expect him to be rushed straight into the Dragons NRL side for the round eight-clash against the Wests Tigers if he is found not guilty.
De Belin won't be training with the Dragons over the next fortnight, with St George Illawarra planning on bringing him back through reserve grade if he manages to clear his name.
The Herald can reveal that as per the details of the contract extension he agreed to last year, St George Illawarra have been paying De Belin a reduced wage from their own money outside the salary cap.
It will revert back to the full $650,000 salary if De Belin is found not guilty. If he is sent to prison his contract will be terminated immediately.
Panthers restore public faith
It's not often that clubs get emails from the public praising players for their behaviour in society, however that was the case last week when Penrith players were lauded for their efforts in assisting an intoxicated elderly man who had fallen over in the gutter.
'The Falcon and The Winter Soldier' Spoilers: What Happens to John Walker in the Comics
"The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" episode 4 saw John Walker's story take a dark turn – and the comics hint that things might go from bad to worse for him in the Disney+ show.In fact, those comics may also give fans a preview of what will happen to the character in the Disney+ show. In a Captain America arc from the late 1980s, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans in the MCU) abandons his role as Cap because he does not want to be tied to America and its political agenda.
"I had stopped to see if he was OK when these young boys came running over," the letter from a female member of the public said.
"There was about six or seven of them. They got the man to his feet. He was very, very intoxicated but these boys made sure the gentleman wasn't hurt. I had offered to take the gentleman home as long as one or two of the boys came with me as I, being a lady and having my daughter with me, was just worried.
"These lovely boys walked this gentleman all the way home to make sure he got home. The young gentleman need to be recognised for what they have done. They have certainly restored my faith in young people again. You definitely have some young gentleman in your team to be proud of. Absolute bloody legends the lot of them."
McGuire deal imminent
Expect the Josh McGuire deal with St George Illawarra to be finalised in the next 24-48 hours.
The Dragons and Cowboys are close to agreeing to the terms of his release, which could see McGuire at the joint-venture club in time for Saturday's round-six clash against the Warriors.
The Cowboys are playing almost half of McGuire's salary for the remainder of the year. McGuire missed Sunday's game against the Wests Tigers after a boil on his elbow got infected, forcing the forward to spend 36 hours in hospital during the week.
Cowboys court Reynolds
Don't be surprised if the Cowboys used their trip to Sydney for Sunday's game against the Tigers to organise time to sit down with Adam Reynolds, or at the very least his manager, about joining the club next season. The Cowboys are apparently willing to offer the three-year deal Reynolds has been chasing.
Vin Diesel says that Paul Walker had sent John Cena to meet him on set .
The 53-year-old recently sat down for an interview with Nate Burleson for Extra to promote the forthcoming action feature and gave a bit of insight into the decision behind Cena's casting.The 53-year-old actor recently sat down for an interview with Nate Burleson for Extra to promote the forthcoming action feature and gave a bit of insight into the decision behind the WWE star's casting.