A SUPER LEAGUE debut for your home team and now the chance to represent your country in the World Cup… It’s not been a bad year for Anthony Walker!
The 21-year-old prop forward has had a remarkable season.
He got the nod for Saints back in February – making his debut away at Bradford – and went on to make eight more appearances.
Now, he’s been called up for Wales for the forthcoming Rugby League World Cup.
“My granddad is Welsh so I qualify through him and it is something I have always wanted to do,” he said. “When I started playing rugby I wanted to represent Wales as my granddad was a big influence on my career.
“I put my name forward earlier in the season and when I got the message I was in the initial 40 man squad I thought that was a good achievement.
“But when Iestyn [Harris] called me to say I had made the final cut I was shocked… but it was a nice surprise.
“Being 21 and playing in a World Cup, in your own country, that is something you can tell the grandkids about when you’re older. Not many people have done that.
“I now have to work hard in training and in our friendly game to have a real shout.”
He continues: “If you would have said I would play nine times for Saints at the start of the season I would have bitten your hand off. I set myself a target of one maybe two games and I was pleased that Nathan Brown put his faith in me.
“I missed 16 weeks of the season too with injury but got back fit and went out to Whitehaven. I expected that to be it but Bronwy put me in the side to travel to Catalan. It’s been an amazing season for me, but up and down too, and I do think what could have happened if I didn’t get injured.
“But to cap that off with a World Cup selection is unreal.
“I know it will be tough to get in the Saints side next season because we have made some quality additions in the pack. They are good forwards and in the peak of age, expecting to play every week. I know I might miss some of the pre-season too. But I know if I train hard then I have a good chance and it’s good to have competition in the squad.”
Wales will take on Italy (Oct 26), USA (Nov 3) and the Cook Islands (Nov 10) and Walker is excited by all three clashes.
“It would be good to get selected to play against Italy. Not only will it be in the Millennium Stadium and in front of a packed house, but I would also be up against my teammate Anthony Laffranchi. It’s always good to face your mates.
“The game against USA would be big for me too. I would have a lot of family in Wrexham supporting me and that would make me proud.
“Cook Islands will be a tough match. I played against some of the Islanders when I was on tour in Australia with Saints Academy and they certainly let you know you’ve been in a tackle. It was brutal.”
Anthony will meet up with his teammates yesterday (Wednesday) at Colwyn Bay and then will move on to Celtic Manor for the tournament. He hopes he will be allowed to take his golf clubs too!
“I’m looking forward to the experience,” he adds. “We want to do well and we know if we get though the group then we could possibly face Australia or England in the quarter finals at Wrexham.
“That would be special. Every player wants to face the best in the world and we want to do that.”
Tickets for the Rugby League World Cup can be bought from here.