SHANNON WALKER on the attack for Kyogle against South Grafton yesterday.
SHANNON WALKER on the attack for Kyogle against South Grafton yesterday.

Shannon?s five tries set up Kyogle win

By STEVE SPINKS

HE'S attracted interest from the newly admitted Gold Coast National Rugby League team.

He's on scholarship with the Parramatta Eels.

He was part of the Northern Rivers Under-18 team that won the NSW Country divisional championship this season.

Kyogle's Shannon Walker is a rugby league player on the rise.

And didn't he highlight it yesterday afternoon against competition heavyweights South Grafton at New Park, Kyogle, in Round 16 of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.

The 17-year-old scored five tries as the Turkeys all but ended the Rebels' semi-final hopes.

Walker was outstanding for Kyogle.

He left South Grafton players clutching at thin air as he scored three tries before half-time and two after the break including the match-winner in the final five minutes.

Trying to tackle the livewire utility back must be like trying to catch flies with chopsticks ... impossible.

"What can you say about him?" Kyogle captain-coach Brad Purtell said.

"Five tries.

"He was great for us."

It wasn't as if Walker was simply scoring easy tries on the end of the Kyogle backline. He was scoring tries he had no right to score.

His step and acceleration off the mark helped him cross for three tries before half-time as the Turkeys took an unexpected 20-12 lead at the break.

The Rebels scored two tries in the space of a couple of minutes straight after the break to take the lead at 22-20.

The two sides then traded tries until Kyogle nosed in front 32-28 courtesy of Walker's fourth try with 10 minutes remaining.

Then the teenage speedster struck again ... but not with another try.

Former North Queensland Cowboys NRL player and South Grafton five-eighth Ray Mercy made a break inside the Rebels' half and set sail down the touchline.

Mercy looked certain to score until Walker shouldered him into the corner.

On the next set of six the brilliant young fullback, who also played wing and centre during the afternoon, scored his fifth try to seal the match.

Just to cap a great day, Walker had earlier scored a try as the Kyogle Under-18s defeated the Rebels 36-22.

Substance

But it would be wrong to think the entire first grade win was down to Walker.

While he provided the style, the Kyogle forward pack provided the substance.

Props Dave Mulcahy and Christian Mene were outstanding up front, playing the entire 80 minutes.

They more than matched South Grafton monster Xavier Sullivan in yardage and their defence was superb.

Second-rower Luke Daley and hooker Todd Newton weren't far behind, while Walker's older brother Zeke played well on the wing.

The Rebels, who looked strong semi-final contenders only two weeks ago, now appear likely to miss the play-offs.

They are four points out of the six with four rounds to go.

South Grafton played well in patches with Sullivan, captain-coach Stevie Kirby, halfback Dallas Waters, Mercy and centres Scott Laurie and Paul Donovan proving difficult to handle.

But the Rebels could just not handle a youngster called Shannon Walker.

KYOGLE 38 (Shannon Walker 5, Simon Pederson tries; Simon Pederson 7 goals) d SOUTH GRAFTON 28 (Dallas Waters, Dale Eamons, Paul Donovan, Stevie Kirby, Ray Mercy tries; Scott Laurie 4 goals). Half-time: Kyogle 20-12. Referee: Peter O'Connor.

Reserve grade: KYOGLE 20 (Phil Charles 3, Steve Byers tries; Steve Byers, Simon Tough goals) d SOUTH GRAFTON 16 (Alf Priestly, Luke McKenna, Scott Laurie tries; Joe Gordon 2 goals).

Under-18s: KYOGLE 36 (Will Mathews 2, Matt Ivanusa, Shannon Walker, Brent Keast, Boyd Walker, Ryan Daley tries; Craig Simpson 4 goals) d SOUTH GRAFTON 22 (Cody Walker 2, Mike Randall, Dan Randall tries; Dale Eamons, Dwayne Randall 2 goals).



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