Johns reveals key to Walker’s rocketing rise

Johns reveals key to Walker’s rocketing rise

Some expert Andrew Johns analysis has revealed just how crucial a role Sydney Roosters lock Victor Radley is playing in the meteoric rise of precocious halfback Sam Walker.

The highly touted 18-year-old was called up for his NRL debut in Round Four and took just five games to match Chad Townsend and Luke Brooks, who haven’t missed a match this season, in equal second on the try-assists leaderboard. Walker also has three tries beside his name.

The Queenslander’s deft kicking game and soaring cut-out passes have played a monumental role in the injury-ravaged Roosters’ resistance – and Johns said Radley’s work in the middle of the park had been pivotal to Walker’s magic in attack.

Sydney Roosters lock Victor Radley. (Getty)

“I’ve been watching Sam Walker very closely, and the last couple of weeks – if you want to go home and do some homework, Sam’s got all those try assists, but who gets the ball to Sam is Victor,” Johns said on Wide World of Sports’ Immortal Behaviour.

“Victor plays the middle role and links. He’s the ball-player, he’s the ‘halfback’ in the middle of the field, without being too technical. If you think of the black dot, when the ball’s 15 metres, 10 metres either side of the black dot – that’s Victor’s area. Watch Victor.

“He links with his big men, gets them one-on-one tackles, then he links with his halves and his fullback. So Sam’s killing it, but watch how many times Sam gets the ball from Victor.

“And on the other side: Victor to (Drew) Hutchison to (James) Tedesco.”

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Johns has been so impressed with Radley’s performances since returning from the best part of 12 months out of the game after rupturing his ACL that he has given him the nod to start at lock for the NSW Blues this year.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson opted for Lachlan Lam as Luke Keary’s halves partner in Round One, following the departure of Kyle Flanagan at the end of last season.

But when Lam (MCL) and Keary (ACL) suffered serious knee injuries in the Roosters’ 26-16 defeat to the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Round Three, it left the halves reins with Walker and Hutchison.

Sam Walker of the Roosters scores a try against the Newcastle Knights. (Getty)

Legendary NSW Blues coach Phil Gould said on Nine’s 100% Footy this week that Walker was better than rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns at the same age.

Gould also said Walker reminded him of former champion Penrith Panthers halfback Greg Alexander, who burst into first grade at the age of 19 in 1984.

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