Bradford Bulls season preview: Walker having the time of his life (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford Bulls season preview: Chev Walker having the time of his life
Behind every successful man is a strong woman.
If that old saying really does ring true then Chev Walker could be in for a big season.
Last year was certainly tumultuous for the Bulls man.
First he became a father for the first time in September.
Then he turned 30.
Then he married his long-term partner Lauren Frain – the mother of their newly-born son, Lincoln.
“I’ve just got a bit more purpose in my life now with becoming a father to Lincoln and husband to Lauren,” said Walker.
“I’ve always been a bit ahead of my time in terms of maturity and my approach to the game, but now I’ve got other people relying on me and my career.
“Previously I never had to worry about anybody else.
“I don’t mean that in a selfish way but I was focused on my own performances and nothing else really. Now I’ve got a family to feed and I know I need to make that extra step.
“Am I enjoying fatherhood? Absolutely, Lincoln is a joy to have.
“I know every father says that about their kid but he’s as good as gold and has brought out the best in me.”
Walker met Lauren, a model and actress, eight years ago.
Tying the knot in the year he turned 30 felt right.
“I was ready for it and I’ve not been rushed into anything,” he said.
“We were engaged for a year and then got married. I’m as happy as I’ve ever been.”
Walker is hoping to transmit his off-field contentment onto the pitch this year.
He endured more rotten luck on the injury front – a recurring theme in his career – in 2012 but performed admirably in numerous positions when on the field.
He was rewarded with a new one-year deal and now, fully fit, Walker is determined to repay Francis Cummins’ faith in him.
Walker explained: “I’ve always liked Franny and rated him as a coach. Even when I was younger at Leeds, he took me under his wing.
“He’s a bloke that I want to play for because he can bring out the best in us as players, myself included.
“This is the longest I’ve gone without an injury and the fittest I’ve felt for a while.
“I feel normal whereas previously I’ve always been trying to catch up.
“To finish the season knowing that I’ve had no niggles over the off-season and then coming back for pre-season injury-free has been great.
“Hopefully having my longest run of staying healthy can hold me in good stead this year.
“I’m always going to have people saying ‘he’s injury-prone’ but it’s never been for a lack of effort or not having a good lifestyle. It’s just been down to bad luck but hopefully that’s all behind me now.”
Walker has impressed as much as anybody during pre-season and his versatility, which saw him operate in the front row last term, should serve the Bulls well.
He added: “Not being able to get a two-year deal has meant I’ve come back for pre-season in probably the best shape of my life.
“I’ve not drank, I’ve not done anything, and have just focused on getting myself as fit as I can and making sure that I rip in during pre-season.
“I just want to give my best and hopefully that’s enough to cement a position.”