Walker swaps rugby codes
LIVEWIRE fullback Shannon Walker has been released by the Gold Coast Titans NRL club and been signed by the Australian Rugby Union on a sevens contract.
In a dramatic day at the Titans, Preston Campbell announced his retirement while Walker, formerly of Kyogle, and fellow rugby-bound Titans player Joseph Tomane were given releases.
Tomane has signed with the ACT Brumbies.
Walker will join his new sevens teammates at a training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport from Monday and will not take any further part in the Tweed Seagulls' Queensland Cup campaign.
“I really enjoyed my time at the Titans and I learnt a lot, but when I looked at sevens and looked at the opportunities it provides to tour the world and represent Australia at the Olympics I couldn't really turn down the idea,” Walker said.
“The time was right for me to make a decision and I thank the Titans for their support and ARU and the sevens coaching staff for showing faith in me and giving me an opportunity to prove I deserve an Australian sevens jersey.
“I know there is a lot of hard work ahead but I am looking forward to the challenge and hopefully realising the dream of securing that sevens jersey and hopefully in 2016 a gold medal when the game returns to the Olympics.”
Coincidentally, the first time Walker could appear for the Australian sevens team would be on the Gold Coast for the Australian leg of the Sevens World Series on November 25-26.
Australian sevens coach and former rugby league convert Michael O'Connor welcomed Walker into his squad.
“Shannon has shown great potential in his short time with the Titans, potential I am sure will translate well to rugby sevens,” he said.
“It is very exciting to see him want to further his sporting career in an Australian sevens jersey.
“He is now the second NRL convert to join us this year after Denan (Kemp – former Broncos player) came across in April and is a testament to the game to think players from other codes are looking at sevens and liking what they see."
It's understood Walker was keen to move on from the Titans after being frustrated at the lack of opportunity at the club behind incumbent William Zillman and Campbell.