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IRREPRESSIBLE Chris Walker has helped Norths produce a second half which sent shockwaves through the Wizard Cup; the Devils scoring 52 unanswered points to beat Wynnum Manly 56-30 at BMD Kougari Oval.
So often criticised throughout his career, Walker set an example for every aspiring young player with his brilliant support play, turning the slightest opportunities into points for the rampaging Devils.
In a truly remarkable game Wynnum Manly led 26-4 with 30 minutes to play, only to become buried beneath an avalanche of Devils? tries. Norths crossed the line nine times in succession in the second half, with the Seagulls gaining a consolation try right on fulltime.
Both Walker and winger Steve Franciscus finished with three tries apiece, linking on several occasions to test Wynnum?s outside men.
As could be expected, Walker stood out from the crowd for reasons both good and bad. In the opening 10 minutes he gave away a penalty, committed a knock-on at pace and also took a clever catch to defuse a Seagulls kick.
When Norths were down 10-0, Walker was officially cautioned for dissent by referee Brett Suttor, having objected to a strip across the tryline by Rodney Barba which went unpenalised. The former Queensland State of Origin flyer also found himself hauled in by back-rower Kerry Smith after seemingly breaking into the clear.
He managed to get back on track with a somewhat fortuitous four-pointer in the 26th minute, picking up a messy Scott Anderson pass after a good break from skipper Aaron Bulow.
That was to be Norths? only points of the first half as Wynnum enjoyed a 66% share of possession and scored some eye-catching tries, with Luke Dalziel-Don throwing the last pass on two occasions.
The Seagulls were minus representative strike weapons Jimmy Ahmat and Simon Phillips, but by forcing the Devils to do all the tackling, they nullified their opposition for the first 40 minutes. Although the second-half started with a long-range try to Brian Jellick, it was all downhill from there for the bayside club.
Shifting between wing and centre, Walker produced a wonderful pass under pressure to put Franciscus away in the 48th minute, throwing the ball while off balance and being tackled. On the very next set he sniffed around the middle of the field and put Isaac Kaufmann away in a movement which eventually saw Sam Tagataese score.
Wynnum Manly was panicking when the Devils scored for the third time in seven minutes, this time with Walker picking up the scraps from a Jamie Feeney offload and shortening the lead to 26-22. The try which best exemplified Walker?s enthusiasm came next however, as he chased the ball across field, looped around his teammate, changed direction and then fed Franciscus once more.
Still holding the record of seven tries in a Wizard Cup match, Walker got his third try of the day by supporting Franciscus in the 66th minute. It was to be his 53rd in just 38 State League matches.
Norths, feared as the club which could finish the season strongest, is still a chance of making the finals.
NORTHS 56 (Chris Walker 3, Steve Franciscus 3, James Aubusson, Sam Tagataese, Will Scanlon, Ryan Shortland tries; Jackson Nicolau 6, Chris Walker 2 goals) d WYNNUM MANLY 30 (Tangi Ropati, Brian Jellick, Steve Irwin, Daniel Evans, Darren Bain, John Bruce tries; Steve Irwin 2, Daniel Evans goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.