IN A BID to get fit for Leeds Rhinos’ crucial bottom-of-the-table battle against London Broncos, young full-back Jack Walker was training on his own last night.
The England Knights international has missed the last three games with a hamstring issue but is desperate to be ready to face their Super League rivals at Magic Weekend on Sunday.
Walker, 19, was on media duties at Anfield Stadium yesterday with a player from each of the competition’s other 11 clubs as they look to sell the Liverpool event.
It meant he was unable to take part in the team’s training session back at Kirkstall but the teenager is certainly not slacking.
“I did a bit of running last week, some sprinting and stuff last week and over the weekend and I’ll do a bit more this evening,” he explained.
“I am travelling back over (to Leeds) and doing a bit more training.
“It (hamstring) is really good; it’s feeling well and hopefully it’s going to be all right this week and I’ll be okay for the weekend.
“It is frustrating watching from the sidelines, especially when we are getting beaten most weeks.
“The loss against Bradford in the Challenge Cup was frustrating - just being sat there watching that you want to get on - but I am really looking forward to getting out there this weekend.”
Struggling Leeds are in dire need of a victory given they are down in 10th and joint-bottom with both London and 11th-placed Hull KR.
Asked what has been the source of their poor form, Walker admitted: “I have no idea what it is.
“Maybe a lack of confidence, because we have shown this season we are a really good side and we are going to be a tough side to beat if we can just click and start to gel.
“We will go 20 points up and they will get one try back - just one try - and our heads will go down.
“That’s when they get a roll on. We make it difficult for ourselves and we are just not nailing that 80-minute performance.”
The return of Walker - nominated for Super League Young Player of the Year last term - would undoubtedly bolster Leeds’ hopes of gaining a rare win.
London beat Wakefield Trinity on Saturday to give themselves a welcome shot and they also prospered 18-16 at Headingley in March when the hosts collapsed spectacularly in the late stages.
Walker recalled: “I think they scored three tries from kicks.
“If we can just sustain a good performance, instead of having 20 minutes good and 10 minutes bad - have a full 80 minutes when we are on it and we are really good - I think we should blow them away.
“It is massive for both teams. If we can nail the full-80 performance and get our gameplan right - and it’s a great occasion to do so - it will kick-start our season and we will start to win some games and build our way back up the table.”
If Walker is fit, it will be intriguing to see him go up against namesake Alex, the Scotland international who has been starring for London and gaining plenty of admirers who know he is out of contract for 2020.
“It’s the battle of the Walkers,” said the Leeds star.
“He is a great player. I watched him last year in the Million Pound Game and he was outstanding.
“I am really looking forward to playing against him and seeing who comes out on top.”