Rebels hopeful they can nab their man
RUGBY LEAGUE: When the South Grafton Rebels return to the training paddock to resume pre-season next Tuesday, there is one face vice-president Grant Stevens hopes is front and centre, Luke Walker.
Brother of South Sydney Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody, Walker made a strong impression during the Rebels early pre-season sessions before the Christmas break.
A former Casino Cougars junior along with his brother, Walker has an opportunity to slot into the Rebels forward pack in 2019 after the loss of Xavier Sullivan (retirement) and Karl Woodley (injury).
Also skilled with a deft passing game, Walker could easily take up a spot at hooker with Kieren Stewart expected to miss a chunk of the season after off-season eye surgery.
"Kieren is still a chance to play next season, he is just waiting to see what the feedback is from his doctor but at this stage we are still giving him every opportunity to retake his spot,” Stevens said.
"Luke is definitely an option to slot in there if we need him. He trained great in the first half of the pre-season and hopefully we can get him back again this year.”
But Steven's stressed it would be up to individual players to earn a spot in a side which has also welcomed the addition of Lower Clarence Magpies stars Hughie Stanley and Dan Randall.
"No-one's spot is secured when it comes down to it,” he said. "Everyone needs to put in the work and give themselves every chance to be picked come round one.
"I don't think our squad looks too bad on paper but we have looked good on paper at this time of the pre-season before and it hasn't worked out.
"We are still recruiting that's for sure, we want as many bodies on the field as possible.”
The Rebels are yet to lock in any pre-season trial matches but the club is expected to register teams for the annual Hoey Moey Coffs Coast 9s.
Across the river Grafton Ghosts will begin pre-season training at the end of the month with trial matches against Casino Cougars locked in for all four grades at Frank McGuren Field on Saturday, March 16.