An Ipswich connection will help the Australian Schoolboys as they set their sights on maintaining a dominant record over New Zealand.
Gun playmaker Sam Walker, son of former Bronco Ben Walker, elected to pursue a career in the NRL by signing with the Roosters.
Sam decided to sign with the eastern suburbs club after seeking advice from another famous Ipswich rugby league product, Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary.
Keary has been giving Walker playmaking advice, something that he treasures.
“I spoke to Luke a fair bit when I was down there, it was awesome listening to him talk,” Sam said.
“The way he is playing, I think he is the best half in the competition at the moment, so I enjoy talking to him (and) asking for tips about how I can improve my game.”
The emerging talent is in camp with the Australian team getting ready to take on the Junior Kiwis at Redcliffe on Sunday.
Match: Schoolboys v Junior Kiwis
Round 1 -
Venue: Dolphin Stadium, Brisbane
The squad has gelled quickly, which has allowed the players to forge friendships and connections that will last throughout their prospective NRL careers.
The gathering also gives the players a chance to cast aside state-based allegiances, at least for now.
“We’ve got to put everything aside as we are playing for Australia, we’re not playing for Queensland or New South Wales,” Sam said.
“We’ve all bonded well, and no one is holding anything against anyone, we are a team, and we will play for each other.”
Attending a boarding school with a keen rugby union culture has undoubtedly helped develop Sam’s approach to steering a team around a paddock.
For the Reds and the Wallabies; it’s a case of ‘what might have been’.
“I enjoy playing rugby union especially with my mates at school, last year I almost prioritised union over league, I played for the Reds Under 16 side, and I loved that,” Sam said.
“With league, my father and uncles played NRL, but with union, a lot of the coaching I have received helped my kicking and decision making.
“Both codes have contributed to how I play now.”