NRL news | Sam Walker Roosters-Bulldogs play, running backwards

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Former Queensland Origin star Chris Walker called his nephew Sam on Sunday morning in the wake of the furore over his controversial last-second play for the Roosters against the Bulldogs and reminded him of a talk he once had with supercoach Wayne Bennett.

Social media went berserk when, with 20 seconds left on the clock and the Roosters clinging to a six-point lead, Sam Walker stunned everyone by taking the ball 10 metres out … and running 90 metres backwards to his own tryline as the clock ran out.

“Sam has been copping it and I just don’t think it is fair,” his uncle Chris, a long-time NRL star, told Wide World of Sports.

“He was a bit surprised by all the fuss – we’re in the middle of a pandemic and you would think people would have more important things to worry about.

“But I reminded him of a chat I once had with Wayne Bennett about fans and critics when I was going through a hard time.

“Wayne said to me, ‘If you listen to the people in the crowd, it won’t be long before you are out of the game and sitting next to them’.

“And he is 100 per cent right – you’ve got to play your own game, listen to those in the know like your coach and teammates, and shut out those outside voices.”

Walker blamed FOX commentator Andrew Voss for much of the vitriol aimed at the teenage halfback following the incident.

“Vossy is a good bloke but I thought he incited things when he said that (Bulldog Lachlan) Lewis (who was chasing Walker) should go up and smash him,” he said.

“That set off the lunatics and it all snowballed.

“But look, I’ve spoken to Sam this morning and he is fine.

“He is not a mug and didn’t mean any disrespect to the Bulldogs.

“It was a smart play with 20 seconds left on the clock – if he kicked the ball, it could have rebounded straight to a Bulldog who could have ran the length – you never know.

“I’ve seen Benji Marshall do the same, I’ve seen Tony Iro do it – but there wasn’t any of this uproar because Sam is a bright young kid and people are looking to take him down.”

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