07 May 2010

Andrew Walker staying loyal to Goodna Rugby League Club

GOODNA'S dual international Andrew Walker has shown loyalty still exists in rugby league.

Despite being offered significant money by Queensland Cup side Easts Tigers, Walker has committed to his IRL club.

When the Easts Tigers lost star halfback Tim Smith to the Cronulla Sharks NRL club, Tigers officials made several approaches to Walker – offering him a better deal than he is on at Goodna.

Then, when rumours of the approach swept through rugby league, Ipswich Jets CEO Brad Wolens called Goodna president Gary Parker to ask if Walker was leaving Ipswich.

"I said if he is keen to play in the Queensland Cup, he doesn't have to leave Ipswich to do it," Wolens said.

"I didn't want to go behind Gary or anything. I simply said he could be dual-registered with the Jets and Goodna and if we were desperate we could use him but otherwise he would still be in Goodna."

But Walker informed Wolens he was happy playing in the IRL and would not take up the offer from Easts.

"Walker showed loyalty and that's great to see," Wolens said.

The Jets had hoped Walker could solve their halves crisis after injuries derailed their season.

"It's just good to keep guys of his standard in Ipswich so they can pass on the knowledge they have," Wolens said.

One of Walker's best friends, Goodna captain Craig Wehrman, said he had several discussions with Walker over the potential switch.

"I talked to him when he was weighing up the offer and I just wanted him to do what would make him happy," Wehrman said.

"In the end he wanted to stay close to his family and work and he was not too keen on training more than twice a week.

"It's great for us because he's had a big impact on the club and has given us a lot of confidence.

"He's been good for the younger fellers here, too, and even though he's only coasting along in the games, he's been playing well."

Walker, 36, played 145 NRL games for the Dragons, Roosters and Sea Eagles. He had a distinguished Super rugby career for the Brumbies and Reds.

When Walker announced he was coming to Goodna he said it was in part to help develop young talent.

Walker's coach at Goodna, Anthony Fowler, said he was delighted that his brilliant fullback stayed loyal to the club.

"I'm definitely glad he's stayed on," Fowler said.

"He's been really good for us this year and it would have been a shame to loose him to any club."

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