Australian Schoolboys halfback Sam Walker can’t wait to pick the brain of Sydney Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary when he joins the club at the end of November after undergoing surgery on his shoulder.
Walker was a key figure in the Australian Schoolboys 36-20 win over the Junior Kiwis at Dolphin Stadium on Sunday where he set up two tries with slick passes, created another with a grubber and scored one himself at the death.
On Monday he flew to Sydney for surgery which will require a five-month rehabilitation program.
The 17-year-old plied his trade this year with the Ipswich Jets in the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup, played GPS rugby with Ipswich Grammar School and represented the Queensland under 18s.
He will join the Roosters on a two-year deal where he will learn plenty from Ipswich-born Roosters five-eighth Keary.
"I think this is a good time to get the surgery done. I will be right for the first round next year so it is perfect timing to get it out of the way. It is all about being right for next year,” Walker said.
"My goal now is to head down to the Roosters, have an awesome pre-season and try and play my best footy next year.
"I am really looking forward to heading down there and working alongside Luke Keary. It will be an awesome experience training alongside the best half in the game at the moment. He has been killing it for the Roosters so I am going to enjoy learning a lot of little things off him.
"I admire the culture they have built at the Roosters and the players and coaches are all so welcoming.”
Walker spent the evening before playing for the Australian Schoolboys watching the Roosters account for Melbourne in an NRL preliminary final where he said he was "cheering them on with every play".
An Australian Schoolboys staff member noted after the win over the Kiwis how Walker always has a ball in his hands. Even an hour after the win he was spinning a ball on his finger and kicking it around.
That desire to always have a football in his hands has translated onto the field where Walker has often unfurled some freakish skill this year.
Australian Schoolboys coach Tony Adam said the Roosters would be the ideal club for Walker to take his game to the next level.
"Sam has got the instinct part of his game down pat and now he just needs to work out how to navigate and game manage a bit better so I think going to the Roosters with Keary there, and the way Trent Robinson coaches, will suit him down the ground,” Adam said.
"He has the experience around him to get him through.”
Adam was pleased with the way Walker approached his task against the Junior Kiwis.
"It was about building pressure. We were lucky that our six [Toby Sexton], seven and one [Reece Walsh] had played together which is handy, but the good thing was that Sam picked his moments well, allowed the forwards to run the juice out of their pack and got us to our kick," Adam said.
Walker’s Australian Schoolboys teammate Jack Howarth, the man of the match against the Junior Kiwis in the back row, said he was certain Walker would prosper at the Roosters.
The duo has also played together at a junior representative level for Queensland and for Met West.
"It in an awesome opportunity for Sam down there and I reckon he will kill it," Howarth said.
"He plays that eyes-up footy and what is in front of him. I am like that as well. I am not a structured player. I like to play what is in front of me as well so it is good working with him."