Nimbin leads the way
By DARREN MONCRIEFF
BILLY WALKER jnr comes from a football-loving family ? but you have to make sure exactly which 'footy' it is you're talking about whenever you're having a yarn with them.
Walker's first cousins, Shannon and Michael, look sure things to make names for themselves in the NRL with new club the Gold Coast Titans.
Other Walker boys over at Kyogle are regulars with the NRRRL's Kyogle Turkeys' first and reserve grade rugby league teams.
Billy, 23, plays for the club's reserve grade team, too.
An indication of just how busy Walker gets on weekends is that he plays for the Nimbin Demons in the Summerland Australian Football League (SAFL) on Saturdays and backs up for the Turkeys on Sundays.
Does it sometimes get confusing?
"No, I know all the rules (for both codes) ... they're all in my head," he said.
But it's AFL footy that young Billy Walker jnr, a keen St Kilda fan, favours most.
Walker and his brothers grew up with AFL football and rugby league because their mum comes from Kurnai/Gunni country in Victoria, and their dad, Billy snr, from Bundjalung country.
The boys' time was split growing up in both regions, and playing both codes.
Walker has played in country Victoria when he was younger, cutting his teeth in the strong East Gippsland league. He won Paynesville's fairest-and-best a few years ago.
This is just his second year in the SAFL.
He usually lines up for the Demons as rover, using his pace, skill and hard running to win ball from out of the centre.
In the opening round of the SAFL, Walker and his brothers, Andrew and Joseph, brother-in-law Rod Harrison, who is from Victoria, and part-Maori mate Matty Doolan donned the blue-and-red for the Demons.
It's believed to be the first time the club fielded five Indigenous players in the one game, which was a special moment, says Walker.
"It's a good feeling playing with your brothers," he said.
"Just having them there ... it's not often that we all play together. It's good having Rod there, too, because he's a great mark and ruckman and we learn from him."
Walker said playing for the Demons presents several challenges.
"I have to adjust my game a lot more because of the standard here," he said.
"I probably do a bit more running because I have to do a lot more to cover ground and other players.
"I think we need to improve our fitness and have a bit more ball control. Some improvement in ball disposal will help and once we all get that right we should be all right."