Hey Presto!

THE Gold Coast Titans' fill-in captain Preston Campbell is well known for his explosive speed.

But not even he wants to get in a foot race with Kyogle's Shannon Walker - the man billed as the fastest in the NRL.

'I don't even bother,' said Campbell, while in Lismore this week.

Speaking during NAIDOC celebrations, Campbell said Walker's blistering pace and natural ability made him suited to first grade.

The Titans have named a 20-man squad with three players to be omitted but, Campbell said Walker was expected to play.

'He's going to be in the 17,' Campbell said.

'He's been training hard and worked his way into the 17. He's been patient.

'Carty (coach John Cartwright) was a bit worried about putting too much pressure on him.'

After a nervous debut in first grade earlier in the season, Walker made his second appearance last weekend in the Titans' gutsy,  win over competition heavyweights the Roosters in Sydney.

Walker started off the bench and was injected into the match at fullback shortly before half-time with Campbell pushing up into half-back.

'It was awesome,' Walker said.

'I got more of a run. I wasn't as nervous, especially pushing Presto up.

'He talked to me a lot before the game. I didn't know what was going to happen.'

Campbell has taken on a mentoring roll for Walker.

'He has had a massive impact on me,' Walker said.

'He talked to me a fair bit before the first game and in the second one we roomed together.

'He just cruised this time and calmed me down.'

But despite the speed and explosive ball-running abilities of each, Campbell said he didn't see himself in the emergence of Walker.

'Maybe 10 years ago there were some similarities,' he said.

With a premiership and the 2001 Dally M player of the year award to his credit, Campbell is a veteran at the top level.

With both Titans co-captains Scott Prince and Luke Bailey out with serious injury, Campbell has stepped into the leadership role.

'It's been good. It's not too much different. I get to lead them out but that's about it,' he said.

But his modesty betrays his heroics.

Campbell was instrumental in last week's upset win, as he controlled play with the ball and managed two try-saving tackles.

In one effort, he single-handedly stopped giant Willie Mason but suffered concussion as a result.

'I'm a bit dusty but I should be okay.'


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