Walker shares rugby journey...

Walker shares rugby journey... widnesvikings.co.uk

9th April 2018

Widnes Vikings loose-forward Brad Walker made the move from his home of Cumbria to the North West at the age of 16. Since then, the 20-year old has gone on to captain England at youth level and looks set to make his mark on Denis Betts’ first-team squad during 2018. James Messenger caught up with Brad to discuss his impressive journey in the sport.

What was it that first drew you into Rugby League?

“I used to be a footballer really when I was about 11 or 12 but my Uncle [Russ] coached a team back home in Cumbria called Askam and told me to come along to training. From that day, I’ve loved it and not looked back.”

When did you decide that you wanted to pursue Rugby League as a career?

“I used to watch it all the time, but I hadn’t ever really thought about playing it because of my love for football. Then I decided I wanted a change. I love the fact that Rugby League is a contact sport and really competitive, so it’s definitely been the right decision.”

How hard was it to adjust coming to a new environment, having lived in Cumbria all your life?

“The first couple of weeks were very tough because I’d never been here, I didn’t know anyone from around the area and I wasn’t with my family anymore. The lads all welcomed me in and helped me settle, so I was pretty comfortable within a few weeks.”

Was there any real advice that you kept with you before you travelled to the North-West?

“Probably from my uncle. Russ played professionally for Hull FC and just told me to keep working hard, keep my head down and I’ll go far. I keep listening to him all the time.  He does ring me to see how I’m going, even today!”

Was your uncle a real factor in you choosing to pursue this sport?

“Knowing that he used to be a good player and went far, really inspired me to go and train with him when he was a coach. He gave me the platform to kick on from.”

This year, you’re part of a group of over 34 players. How important is it to grasp any first-team chances that come your way?

“That first chance I get could be one of the most important of my career so I need to grab it with both hands. Some of the young lads already have and it just shows that if you can, you will stay in the team.”

Looking at the other young players who have broken through, do you think that Widnes is the perfect club for you at this stage of your career?

“Certainly. I think that the future is very bright for Widnes. There are only about two players in my position ahead of me at the moment so, when I can, I need to express myself out on the field.”

Widnes Vikings take on Hull FC on Thursday 12th April (kick-off 7:45pm). Be there to back the boys! Tickets are on sale now from the Vikings Superstore, Tesco Extra, by calling the ticketline 0151 422 5374 (Opt 2), or visiting the online ticketing platform. 

Walker shares rugby journey... widnesvikings.co.uk