Walker professionalism an inspiration to Bradford Bulls teenager (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Chev Walker professionalism an inspiration to Bradford Bulls teenager Oliver Roberts
Strapping back-rower Roberts is gradually acclimatising to life in the first-team squad after being handed a full-time professional three-year deal.
The 17-year-old from Brighouse, cousin of Bulls youngster Jobe Murphy, has been hugely impressed with former Leeds man Walker’s dedication and desire during pre-season.
Roberts, an imposing presence at almost 6ft 3in, said: “It’s good to be training with full-time players. It’s a lot more physical but something I’m enjoying.
“I’m trying to learn as much as I can from the likes of Chev Walker and follow in his footsteps.
“He’s been there and done it all during his career and his professionalism is something you cannot fail to learn from.”
Roberts, who was previously on scholarship at Salford City Reds, has been joined by Sam Wood and Curtis Naughton in Francis Cummins’ senior squad.
The former Siddal amateur said: “I want to use this year to get used to the first-team environment and then really get my foot in the door of the team.
“Hopefully I can make a big impact in the under-19s and then take things from there.”
Roberts was originally included in the England Academy squad for their tour of Australia earlier this year.
He could not make the trip due to personal reasons but declared: “I want to push for inclusion in the squad again this year. I’ve never played for England and would love to do so.”
Meanwhile, John Bateman underwent a shoulder reconstruction yesterday and is aiming to be back in contention to face St Helens on February 24 or Huddersfield on March 3.
Adrian Purtell will move a step closer towards knowing whether he can resume his playing career when he visits a specialist in London tomorrow.
The Australia centre recently had an MRI scan in Leeds and will now undergo further tests which could determine his future.
Renowned rugby union kicking coach Jon Callard will take the first of a number of sessions with the Bulls tomorrow morning.
And former Bradford winger Karl Pryce is being linked with a move to Salford.
The Bulls will hold their latest fans’ forum in the Coral Stand at Odsal on Friday (7pm) and Christmas Fayre on Sunday (midday).