Twelve NRL clubs and rugby union battling to sign schoolboy sensation Sam Walker
May 31, 2019
Queensland under-18s halfback Sam Walker has become one of the most sought-after teenagers in the country with 12 NRL clubs and the Australian Rugby Union in a bidding war for the Broncos sensation.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Walker, still just 16, has fielded offers of up to $200,000 a season as NRL suitors the Roosters, Cowboys, Titans and the Bulldogs vie with the ARU for the signature of the Ipswich Jets wonder boy.
Walker celebrated one of the highlights of his embryonic rugby league career yesterday when he trained against the Queensland Origin senior team in an opposed session at Davies Park.
The son of former Brisbane playmaker Ben Walker, Sam is off-contract with the Broncos at season’s end and may be forced to look elsewhere following the blooding of 18-year-old Tom Dearden at Red Hill.
There will be no shortage of options for the classy playmaker, whose father met with Titans Culture and Performance boss Mal Meninga a fortnight ago to discuss signing the junior Maroons young gun.
Walker will look to pilot the Queensland under-18s to victory over their Blues counterparts in a curtain-raiser to Origin I at Suncorp Stadium this Wednesday night.
Walker’s uncle Shane, who played 150 first-grade games with Brisbane and Souths, said the wiry halfback has a huge decision to make on whether he will stay in league or defect to rugby union.
“People have compared him to Kalyn Ponga but he plays differently to Ponga, Sam is pretty unique in his style,” Walker said.
“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.
“We’ve been really pleased with the process to date. The Roosters, Bulldogs and Titans have all been very professional in their dealing.
“The Australian Rugby Union is also interested in Sam, but to the kid’s credit he isn’t rushing into any decision. He is taking his time.”
Queensland Under-18s coach Kurt Richards said Walker, who turns 17 in a fortnight, is a gifted footballer.
“Sam is a fair talent and plays on both sides of the park and plays what he sees,” Richards said.
“He’s only young but we expect a lot from him in the future.”
Source: Courier Mail