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VFL: Walker's early boost

Brock Ellis  May 16, 2018 7:00 PM

First-year player Will Walker is relishing the opportunity to learn from North Melbourne’s established leaders.

The speedy forward/midfielder has seamlessly transitioned into life at Arden St, continuing his development with one eye on senior selection.

A string of consistent performances in the VFL has seen Walker named as an emergency for the Roos’ AFL side on several occasions.

“It’s a good confidence boost [being named as an emergency] and it helps as it’s a bit of a reward for the effort I’ve put in,” Walker told North Media.

“To be put into consideration for the side, but not being in the side yet, is a good feeling and it’s something I really want to work towards.

“It’s the next challenge and hopefully I’ll get there. It’s about what’s best for the team.”

Since earning a place in North’s VFL side, Walker has shown his impressive ability to run and carry, helping the team gain valuable territory whenever he has the footy.

This was on display last weekend in North’s curtain-raiser against Richmond at Etihad Stadium, where he raced towards the Roos’ forward 50 on several occasions to set up tall target Tristan Xerri.

When probed on his playing style, Walker admitted to keeping a close eye on AFL-listed trio Shaun Atley, Kayne Turner and Shaun Higgins.

 “They play a bit of midfield and forward as well, apply lots of pressure, but also get forward and kick goals,” he said.

“Those are probably the three that I like to watch on the track and during games.”

Like the aforementioned midfielders, Walker plays a part in assisting North’s key forwards.

Despite lacking the size to rival North co-captain Michael Close and fellow forward threat Nick Larkey, he’s always first to hit the pack at ground level.

“It makes it really easy for me [having tall targets],” he added.

“They’re really good at bringing the ball down, which help me get the footy and also gives me a good target to kick to. They’re also good with their leading patterns, which is quite predictable for me.”

Nevertheless, as a developing player, there’s always room for growth.

“My decision making and skill execution when kicking are still my two biggest areas for improvement,” Walker added.

“I’ve been working quite heavily on that with the development coaches. Hopefully that continues to come along nicely and I can continue to improve.”

Fans are invited to attend Saturday’s VFL match against Port Melbourne at North Port Oval, with the first bounce at 2.00pm.