Bradford Bulls: Walker hails inspirational Menzies ahead of Catalan Dragons clash (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford Bulls: Chev Walker hails inspirational Steve Menzies ahead of Catalan Dragons clash
Chev Walker, pictured, is looking forward to facing off against his friend and former team-mate Oliver Elima tonight
Having missed last weekend’s home win over Hull KR with an ankle injury, Walker is poised to feature against Catalan Dragons today.
The French outfit boast four former Bradford players in Ian Henderson, Leon Pryce, Olivier Elima and last, but certainly by no means least, 39-year-old Menzies.
The man nicknamed ‘Beaver’ spent two years with the Bulls in 2009 and 2010 and is enjoying another impressive campaign with the Dragons.
“Steve’s an inspiration for someone like myself,” said Walker about the oldest player in Super League. He’s been around for years and he’s still performing.
“He was in the Super League ‘Dream Team’ in 2011 and it’s inspiring for anyone.
“I think it’s a great story that he’s looked after himself so well and been able to keep producing the goods.”
Walker played alongside Elima for the past two seasons and is aware of the French forward’s competitive streak.
“Ollie is a friend of ours,” said 30-year-old Walker. “He was great for us in the time he was here and it will be a challenge for us this weekend.
“Knowing his character, he will want to come out and prove a point. Not to the club – because he obviously had to look after himself and I reckon he would love to have stayed if anything – but I know he will want to perform and be on the winning side.”
For his own part, Walker has enjoyed a highly impressive start to the season, which made his recent ankle injury all the more frustrating.
“I actually did it in the Hudders-field game,” said the former Leeds man.
“I trained all week on grass and it was fine but I got out there at Widnes and it aggravated it. It was frustrating because on any other field I think I would have got through that game.
“I had set myself a goal of not missing a game and could have played against Hull KR at a push, but it’s about being a bit smart with the Easter period coming up. I just needed a little bit of a break to get it right for this week.”
Walker accepts he cannot expect to walk straight back into the side, particularly after James Donald-son performed so impressively at loose forward last weekend.
“The lads played well at the weekend so it’s a bit of a headache for Franny,” said Walker.
“I think that’s part of having a squad and luckily we’ve got a few bodies back.”
Keith Lulia is set to be given until the last minute to shake off a dead leg sustained against Hull KR, and Matt Diskin is fit to return after recovering from illness.
Bateman trained with the elite training squad at RAF Cranwell last weekend and former Great Britain prop Walker said: “John probably felt a bit nervous training with all those top players but he shouldn’t do because he belongs there and is obviously good enough. I was 17 when I first got in the Great Britain squad and was 18 when I made my debut.
“If coaches pick you then you’re good enough to be in there.
“There’s no point holding back. You’ve got to have respect but rip in at the same time.
“You have to put your best foot forward and I think John will do that. Why can’t John play in the World Cup? For me he’s probably the best young back-rower in the country.
“I think him and Farrell, who are very similar in how they play.
“They’re both freakishly strong and all action. For me, I think John should put his hand up and go for it.
“As a country we produce great players as individuals. We just never seem to get it right as a team.
“I think if they get the environment right then it can only bode well for the country.”