Queensland under-18s sensation Sam Walker will quit the Broncos at season’s end after the Roosters won the battle for the most sought-after young playmaker in Australian sport.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Walker has shunned interest from Rugby Australia and 11 NRL clubs to ink a deal with the Roosters in a blow to the Broncos’ future playmaking stocks.
Walker contacted the Roosters today to inform them of his decision.
The 16-year-old has agreed to a two-year deal as the Roosters prepare for life after champion playmaker Cooper Cronk.
All three Queensland NRL clubs, the Broncos, Cowboys and Titans, were keen on Walker but the halfback young gun will move to Sydney next year to chase his NRL dreams with the Bondi glamour club.
Walker was classy in the Queensland under-18s’ impressive disposal of NSW in the curtain raiser to Origin I last week.
Walker, who turns 17 later this month, had fielded offers of up to $200,000 a season as even Rugby Australia targeted the Ipswich Jets wonder boy.
Walker celebrated one of the highlights of his embryonic rugby league career last week 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 was off-contract with the Broncos at season’s end and decided to look elsewhere following the blooding of 18-year-old Tom Dearden at Red Hill.
Walker’s uncle Shane, who played 150 first-grades with Brisbane and Souths, said the wiry halfback has a huge future in the code.
“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.”
Queensland Under-18s coach Kurt Richards said Walker 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.”