Journeyman Chris Walker signs with Eels

First time head-coach Steve Kearney has made his first big-name signing as coach of the Parramatta Eels getting veteran Chris Walker on board.

Walker, who has played for 5 NRL clubs and one ESL outfit, agreed to join Parramatta for a season, as the Eels look to improve their back-line stocks following the departure of several reserve backs.

Walker, who will return to the NRL following a previous stint with Catalans in the ESL, is expected to begin training with the Eels today, as the Eels go through their paces on their New England Tour.

Walker is over the moon to be back in the league that has given him so many good memories.

”It’s the best comp in the world, and that’s what I want to be a part of,” Walker said.

”I don’t want to finish my career playing in the Super League. I want to finish it where I started it 12 years ago. And I don’t want to finish it any time soon.”

The inspiration for Walker’s return to the NRL came from fellow Queenslander Lote Tuqiri who made a successful transition from Rugby Union back to League at the start of this year, excelling in his first year back.

”You don’t lose your ability,” Walker said. ”I’ll back myself. It was good to watch a mate of mine [Tuqiri] run around, and he’s older than I am. I speak to him occasionally, and he was a bit of an inspiration.”

The return to Australia also had some personal significance for Walker, with the journeyman becoming a father to twins Chase and Narla 5 weeks ago.

Having three children under the age of 5, as well as having his family at least 24 hours away, Walker had to convince an NRL club that he would be worth the signing, and the Eels stepped up to the plate.

Walker, who knows Kearney well having been at the Melbourne Storm in 2006 when Kearney was the assistant coach of the club is eager to get into the Eels starting side.

”Hopefully next year I can force my way into the Parramatta side.”

Eels coach Stephen Kearney believes that Walker will indeed be a good buy, and that he will bring a wealth of experience to the Eels side.

“We looked at our list and we have a fairly extensive amount of injuries with Joel Reddy undergoing shoulder reconstruction and Eric Grothe playing very little football last season due to injury,” Kearney told AAP.

“We also lost Krisnan Inu, who is a class outside back, to the Warriors, and for what Chris cost us, we thought it was good value to get him on board and too good a chance to turn down.

“His experience will be good for us and our young players who are coming through and I know he is looking forward to the challenge and I am looking forward to working with him.”

“I am not concerned about Chris’ past. It is the future that interests me.

“He is a mature player now and has moved on in life and he will be a good addition to our squad and will play a big role for us next year.”

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