Qantas Australian Sevens player, Shannon Walker, will play his first tournament in over a year when he lines up for the National Indigenous side at this weekend’s National Sevens Championships in Narrabeen, Sydney.
The 26-year-old suffered stress fractures in his foot which ruled him out of last season and cruelled him of a return to the Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens Team at the Wellington Sevens in February of 2015.
Walker is excited about returning to the field and believes it will be a special weekend for all of the players wearing the Indigenous outfit.
“I’m chomping at the bit to get back out there, I might be a bit shaky at the start but we will see how I go. My foot is coming along nicely as well, so I’m keen to have run.
“This is my first opportunity to play with a group of Indigenous boys in Sevens, so I’m definitely looking forward to the tournament.”
With the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on the horizon, Walker believes Sevens is on the rise and is pleased to see the next generation of Indigenous talent taking up the game.
“It’s great to see some of the younger Indigenous players getting involved and I think Sevens is getting bigger every year, especially with the Olympics coming soon.”
Qantas Australian Men's Sevens Head Coach Geraint John has released seven contracted players for the tournament in order for them to gain match fitness ahead of his selection for the sixth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong later this month.
Walker will be up against some of his current teammates with Alex Gibbon and Paul Asquith playing for New South Wales Blue, while Peter Schuster (New South Wales White) and Tom Lucas (Queensland Red) turnout for their home sides.
Walker admits there will be some friendly banter out on the field but has his eyes firmly fixed on impressing Head Coach Geraint John in his bid to return to the national team.
“If I pull through this weekend then it will put me into a better position to earn a spot in the top squad. Hopefully it all goes well and I’ll find myself at the Hong Kong tournament in a few weeks.”
All of the action from the Sydney Academy of Sport kicks off at 9am AEDT on Saturday and for information on match times, please click here.
Pool A: Queensland Red, National Indigenous, New South Wales White, Tasmania
Pool B: New South Wales Blue, Western Australia, Queensland White, Northern Territory
Pool C: ACT, Victoria, South Australia, Australian University