Walker looking for redemption after Hull derby humiliation

Adam Walker.
Adam Walker.
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A WEEK is an agonisingly long time in Hull if you have just lost a derby.

Nine days, then, before being able to banish the memory, must seem like an eternity.

Hull KR will have the opportunity to atone for their own debacle when they host Catalan Dragons tomorrow, but prop Adam Walker admits the city has not been an easy place to frequent following that 28-0 mauling at bitter rivals Hull FC last Friday.

“Straight after the derby everyone was down,” he told The Yorkshire Post.

“It’s hard to get back up after a defeat like that – one of the biggest derby losses in years – and we failed to perform.

“It was quite embarrassing really especially as we needed to win to keep chasing the play-offs.

“Personally, I feel we have let Chezzy (head coach Chris Chester) down and we could have done so much better.

“Whatever, we definitely owe our fans a big performance now after last week.”

Rovers had not been kept pointless in the fixture for more than half a century and it all but ended their top-eight hopes.

Scotland international Walker, however, insists the situation can still be retrieved – they trail seventh-placed Catalan and eighth-placed Widnes Vikings by four points with just two games remaining.

“We’re still optimistic about the play-offs and we haven’t given up on them,” said the 23-year-old, who arrived in East Yorkshire from Huddersfield Giants at the end of 2012.

“We’re playing one of the teams we’re chasing on Sunday. If we beat Catalan, there’s one more game to go and who knows?

“But, more than anything, we just want to go out and perform.”

A fiery front-row of the traditional variety, facing Catalan’s famously rugged pack is something Bradford-born Walker is looking forward to.

“It’s the sort of game any forward likes,” he added.“They have one of the best packs in Super League and one of the biggest sides. We’ll relish that.”

Yet Catalan’s 46-4 win over relegated London Broncos was only their first victory in four outings and they are notoriously fragile on their travels.

Chester, meanwhile, said in the aftermath of that Hull shambles – his first game since being confirmed as head coach – that Rovers’ season was over.

He threatened to throw in a raft of youngsters tomorrow and has kept to his word.

At least one, but possibly all, of Academy products Sonny Esslemont, Macauley Hallett and Matty Marsh will make their debut. Rhys Lovegrove is also included with the injured Omari Caro, Jordan Cox and Ade Gardner plus Liam Salter making way.

On Esslemont, the 20-year-old back-row who has been in the 19-man squad on numerous occasions without actually playing, Walker said: “He’s got a good off-load, is a big lad and I remember seeing him last year in a couple of friendlies and being impressed. He could be a star of the future and hopefully we’ll see what he can do.”

Walker, of course, is getting used to life without his twin brother Jonathan, the fellow prop who was sacked by Hull KR in July for an alcohol-related breach of discipline just nine months after joining from Castleford Tigers on a three-year deal.

He has since moved to Championship leaders Leigh Centurions and Walker said: “It was difficult.

“He was living with me over here but the club decided what was for the best. He’s sorted himself out and got himself a good club. We’re both happy.

“He chose to go to Leigh and he had a few other offers. They are a decent club and I definitely think they’ll be pushing for Super League next season.

“Having spoken to him, they’ve got a good side together, have made some great signings and, obviously results this year have been outstanding. They pushed Leeds close in the Challenge Cup. I don’t see why they can’t get into this division.

“On my own form, I’ve enjoyed it this season and overall I think I have improved on last year.

“But we’re not done yet. We’ve got Catalan this weekend and then we’re at Wakefield the following Sunday and we want to finish on a high.”