Hull FC loanee Jack Walker on Leeds Rhinos future and Brett Hodgson's plan once Jake Connor returns

Sporting a man of the match medal in the aftermath of an epic Hull derby at St James’ Park, it was no surprise that Jack Walker had a smile as wide as the Tyne Bridge.

The 22-year-old has been to hell and back with injuries in recent times, missing the best part of two years with a foot issue before suffering another setback nine games into this season.

After falling behind Richie Myler and Zak Hardaker in the pecking order at Leeds Rhinos, Walker made his comeback in Hull FC colours in Newcastle and became an instant hero in a memorable win for Brett Hodgson’s side.

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The full-back laid on one of Hull’s five tries and made 135 metres from 21 carries, providing a spark that had been missing in the absence of Jake Connor.

Jack Walker celebrates Josh Simm's try. (Picture: Walker celebrates Josh Simm's try. (Picture:
Jack Walker celebrates Josh Simm's try. (Picture:

Walker is contracted to Leeds for 2023 but all options are on the table at the start of his loan spell with the Black and Whites.

“I’ve left that to deal with itself at the end of the season,” he told The Yorkshire Post as he discussed his future.

“I’m from Leeds, have grown up in Leeds and support Leeds so I’d be happy to go back if they want me back.

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“But then again if Hull want me, I’d love to do that as well. Wherever I am, I just want to make sure I’m playing.

Jack Walker impressed on his Hull FC debut. (Picture: Walker impressed on his Hull FC debut. (Picture:
Jack Walker impressed on his Hull FC debut. (Picture:

“I’ve only been here a week but I’ve really enjoyed my time so far. I can’t wait for the rest of the season.”

Not only did Walker make his Hull debut and first appearance in three months on Sunday, but it was also his first game away from hometown club Leeds.

The derby occasion on a big stage at St James’ Park gave him a feeling he last experienced in the 2017 Super League Grand Final.

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“It was mint and I loved every bit of it,” said Walker. “The atmosphere and the fans were class.

Jack Walker has made nine appearances for Leeds Rhinos this season. (Picture: Walker has made nine appearances for Leeds Rhinos this season. (Picture:
Jack Walker has made nine appearances for Leeds Rhinos this season. (Picture:

“I’m happy to be back playing. It’s tough being on the sidelines for so long.

“I don’t think I’ve played in that kind of atmosphere and with that buzz since the Grand Final. I really, really enjoyed it.”

Walker may have been in his element on game day but he was not immediately sold on the idea of leaving Leeds.

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Now he has settled into life at Hull, Walker is viewing the move as a shot in the arm.

“When I was first told about the move, I was a bit gutted,” he said.

“But I guess it’s kind of worked out for the better. I’m going to get some game time which I wasn’t promised at Leeds.

“It was a really good week. All the boys were really welcoming and I’m getting on well with the staff. To top it off with a win was even better.”

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Walker has the chance to get at least nine more games under his belt between now and the end of the season, although first-choice full-back Connor is due back from injury next month.

While Hodgson has not given Walker any assurances about his game time, the Hull boss is keen to find room for both players.

“I don’t think any coach can say you’re definitely going to be playing every week because it’s down to your performances,” said Walker.

“He did say if I’m playing well, I’ll keep playing and Jake will go into the halves.

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“I back my ability but I just need to stay on the field. That’s my main problem. Everything else will take care of itself.”

Walker is not 23 until August but he has already suffered a career’s worth of injury heartache.

He is desperate to leave his fitness issues in the past.

“When I did my foot the second time, that was really tough,” said Walker.

“I took a couple of weeks off just to get my head around it and then cracked on.

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“It was another little blow with my hamstring but I’ve been through a lot worse than a torn hamstring so it wasn’t as bad.

“I want to keep playing now because I’m fed up of being on the sidelines. Hopefully that was the last injury for a long time.”

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