Some father-son bonding time meant match-winner Sam Walker had no doubt about the crunch-time kick that helped the Roosters claim a calamitous 24-20 victory over Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Walker calmly slotted a conversion from near the western sideline with seven minutes left on the clock to hand the visitors an 18-16 lead before sealing the two premiership points with a pinpoint accurate kick for back-rower Sitili Tupouniua two minutes later.
Walker also scored the Roosters’ first try of the game in the 47th minute when he ran a nice line off a deft Angus Crichton pass.
The 19-year-old went for a pre-game kick with his father and ex-NRL star Ben Walker at the GPS Rugby Union club in suburban Ashgrove on Friday afternoon and knocked over two kicks from almost the same spot as his sideline dagger.
“It was pretty special. Before the game, I went for a kick with the old man today — just a couple of hours before the game with not much to do,’’ Walker said.
“We went and had a bit of a goal kick and we had two kicks from that exact spot out there today and that’s what I was thinking about.
“I nailed them both today so that’s all I was thinking about. I knew I had the confidence to kick it from that spot and it was really special to be able to get that.”
He said tuition from former super boot Jason Taylor and his father was helping mould his goal-kicking craft.
“I just take what I can from both of those people. The old man came out today to fetch the balls and gave me a few pointers here and there. He’s someone to talk to. He’s been there before in those situations,” Walker said.
Sam Walker gets the Roosters on the board
Walker’s dad, mother Kylie, grandfather Bill and other family members were in a corporate box high in the western stand at Suncorp Stadium and celebrated Sam’s late-match heroics but the young playmaker said there was still plenty that he and Roosters could improve on.
“We’ve got a lot to work on. We were disappointed with the performance (but) to be able to come back from behind to build that confidence… if we are down like that throughout the year, we’ve done it before,’’ he said.
Walker said while he pencilled in games in Queensland each season, beating Brisbane – where he came through the junior system – was not extra special.
“I made the decision a couple of years ago to go to come to the Roosters and I haven’t looked back at all. I’m really happy,’’ he said.
He said his combination with Luke Keary in the Roosters halves was still a work-in-progress after five games but they were building confidence with each outing.