Back to the future with Andrew Walker

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Andrew Walker turned back the clock on Saturday, as the best of the Brisbane Tens comeback kings.

Walker was one of a handful of wildcards slated for the tournament but a spate of late withdrawals left the ex-Brumbies as the standout.

The 43-year-old was dripping with sweat after his first match of the day, having been confronted with super sized Toulon winger Josua Tuisova, who he described as a ‘bus with a semi-trailer on the back

<br? _rdeditor_temp="1">Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham, who was one of the last-minute pullouts with a calf injury, said Walker brought back elements of the Brumbies of old, with his energy on the field. </br?>

"He's really energising the players, motivating the playeers on the field and obviously playing well as well," he said.

“It's good to have - some of the guys can probably take some lessons out of the way that he plays with his communication, his energy and the impact that he makes on the group as a whole, not just his own individual performance.

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“That's the way we used to play, we used to have  a lot of chat on the field and we're trying to achieve that with this group.” - Stephen Larkham

Brumbies Tens captain Jordan Smiler was still coming to terms with playing alongside Walker, though that in itself lifted the

“You watch him growing up as a kid and then to chuck on a jersey and play next to him is pretty unreal, you know?,” he said.

“He brings so much experience in his chat, just lifts the boys' energy and just the vibe that he brings around (is good), the boys just lift a little bit more because they're playing next to a legend.”

Stephen Larkham directing his charges during the week. Photo: WalmsleyA calf injury ended Larkham’s short-lived Tens stint, with the 42-year-old aggravating the muscle on Friday.

“I was a bit of a rookie yesterday, didn't warm up with the boys, I thought I was too old to warm up and got into the touch footy - there was a bit of awareness there (in the calf),” he said.

“I had a good night’s sleep and thought a good warm up this morning would do the trick but actually did a bit more damage out there in the warm up, so the tournament for me is over.”

The Brumbies won two of their three games on the opening day and will likely line up in a quarter-final on Sunday.