The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
Walker’s season-ending injury could ground Jets’ title hopes
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.