The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Walker’s sea­son-end­ing in­jury could ground Jets’ ti­tle hopes

- PETER BADEL

IP­SWICH’S ti­tle hopes have taken a hit with cen­tre Chris Walker suf­fer­ing a sea­so­nend­ing knee in­jury in yesterday’s In­trust Su­per Cup clash against Sun­shine Coast.

The Jets clinched a top-four berth and a home fi­nal with a 34-16 win, but the last-round vic­tory was marred by the sight of Walker limp­ing off just be­fore half­time.

The for­mer Queens­land State of Ori­gin star was later di­ag­nosed with a pos­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment tear, end­ing his sea­son and quite pos­si­bly his 16-year ca­reer.

Walker scored 81 tries from 151 NRL games at five clubs, in­clud­ing the Bron­cos and Ti­tans, and came out of re­tire­ment this year at age 35 to add ex­pe­ri­ence to the Jets’ line-up.

But as he hob­bled off North Ip­swich Re­serve clutch­ing at his right knee, Walker con- fronted the pos­si­bil­ity he may never again lace up the boots.

To com­pound his plight, he was placed on re­port for tak­ing out a Sun­shine Coast ri­val dur­ing the in­ci­dent that caused his latest in­jury set­back.

“I’ve done my PCL, the signs aren’t real good,” Walker said. “I was jump­ing up for a ball, then I col­lided into some­one and I landed on it badly.

“I’ve never in­jured my knee like this be­fore.’’

Asked whether he will re- tire, Walker said: “I don’t know, I will have to sit down with my wife and see if she still wants to sup­port me with footy.

“Billy Slater and Greg Inglis (Ma­roons NRL stars) both in­jured their PCLs and re­turned quickly, so it’s an in­jury I can come back from.

“If I don’t play again, I’ll stay in­volved with the club.’’

Inspired by Marmin Barba, who scored his 27th try of the sea­son, the Jets out­classed the gutsy Sun­shine Coast, tak­ing a 24-6 half­time lead in the wet.

The win keeps Ip­swich in third spot and they will stay there on per­cent­ages if fourth­placed Wyn­num Manly fail to beat Easts Tigers by 23 or more points to­day.

Townsville can seal the mi­nor premier­ship with a home de­feat of Red­cliffe to­day.

The Hun­ters will fin­ish sec­ond if they de­feat the Burleigh Bears in the PNG cap­i­tal Port Moresby.

 ??  ?? KNEE WORRY: Chris Walker limped off be­fore half­time.
KNEE WORRY: Chris Walker limped off be­fore half­time.

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