August 19, 2018, 21:59

Leeds Rhinos’ Jack Walker adamant he was right to mull over future

Leeds Rhinos’ Jack Walker adamant he was right to mull over future

Jack Walker admits his “head was all over the place” as he weighed up his Leeds future last year – but the Super League Grand Final winner is glad he backed his ability.

Walker appeared set to leave the Rhinos after rejecting the offer of a full-time contract and a guaranteed first-team squad number for 2018.

But two weeks later and after much agonising, he signed the three-year deal and committed to a battle with Ashton Golding for the full-back role.

“With Ashton signing a five-year deal and getting the No 1 shirt, it’s like they’d put all their effort into him as the future full-back,” said the 18-year-old.

“So I had a tough decision to make, whether I could back my ability to beat him and get in front of him.

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“The main thing for me was the pathway of my career and my future. I didn’t want to be playing with the under-19s or on loan.

“It took a lot of thinking. Leeds wanted an answer as soon as possible but in a position like that it was a really tough decision to make.

“I had a few people telling me to go elsewhere and others saying to stay at Leeds, so my head was all over the place at the time.

“I believe I made the right call.”

Highlights of Leeds' Grand Final victory over Castleford last October

Walker’s decision was vindicated as Leeds reached the Grand Final and he was selected ahead of Golding at Old Trafford.

The youngster delivered a nerveless performance to help the Rhinos to a 24-6 victory over Castleford that capped a whirlwind year for the local lad.

“I remember playing St Helens with the academy at the start of the season and to make my debut in the first team, I didn’t even think I’d do that,” he said.

“Obviously to kick on and play in a Grand Final, I never thought it would ever happen.

“I don’t really get nervous so it didn’t bother me playing in front of a big crowd. I just got on with it and did my thing. I’ve got a job to do and I need to do it.

“I’m at ease when I’m out there and don’t really feel anything. It’s a normal game for me.”

Walker has an opportunity to nail down the full-back position when he starts in a strong Leeds side in the pre-season friendly against the Tigers at the Jungle on Sunday.

Although they are competing for a place in Brian McDermott’s team, Walker insisted he has a close relationship with Golding, particularly since captain Danny McGuire’s move to Hull KR.

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“Last year Danny took me under his wing,” said Walker.

“He used to give me lifts to training because I couldn’t drive and obviously out on the field he helped me out on where I needed to be.

“This year me and Ashton are working together really well to make each other better players. There’s stuff in my game he needs and there’s stuff in his game that I need.”

Sourse: skysports.com

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