Young gun seals Roosters win in ‘crazy’ match
The Roosters have tried to downplay the hype around young superstar Sam Walker as much as possible, and with good reason – but it’s going to be hard to keep a lid on things after his sensational heroics late to beat the Broncos on Friday night.
We often fall into a trap with young players in the sense they are always the next Johnathan Thurston, or Darren Lockyer, or Andrew Johns, or Shane Webcke – and then inevitably, when those impossible heights aren’t reached, the player in question is labelled a ‘fraud’ and promptly swept aside for the next big thing.
Inexplicably, you already had some people suggesting that perhaps Sam Walker wasn’t up to snuff. Yes, the 19-year-old who steered an injury-ravaged Roosters around and never looked out of his depth in 2021 was somehow a question mark.
It wasn’t a commonly held view and, thankfully, Friday night’s performance can bonk that narrative on the head, as silly as it was that it existed in the first place.
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Walker stepped into as hostile an environment as could be and calmly slotted a sideline conversion to win the game, before providing a deft grubber to Sitili Tupouniua a minute later to extend the lead to two scores with 90 seconds left.
Nobody could have foreseen the chaos that followed, where Brisbane scored a try from a scrum near halfway and then had one play to either win the game or force golden point, but it certainly doesn’t take away from Walker’s second-half showing.
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“I thought we were home there with about two minutes to go,” Walker said on Nine.
“I just don’t know what happened at the end there. That was so crazy.”
Manu levels the scores with strong solo effort
It’s now back-to-back wins for the Roosters for the first time this year, as they remain a fragmented side at times, despite the talent across the park.
Solo efforts from Joseph Manu aren’t going to win you games at the pointy end of the season, but they’ve got plenty of weeks to work it out.
But what can you make of this Broncos season? It’s defied logic at times. A gritty, brave win against competition heavyweights in the Rabbitohs and nearly a second against the Roosters, but embarrassing capitulations to the teams that finished 12th and 15th a year ago.
Adam Reynolds tried hard and kicked well, Corey Oates wound back the years and Kotoni Staggs had his best game of the year.
They’ll feel like this was one that got away, especially after taking a 10-0 lead into the break.
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