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18 hours ago
Speed machine Shannon Walker is set to make his NRL return for the Titans next weekend following a long term knee injury to winger Smith Samua.
Walker, rated the fastest man in rugby league, made a surprise debut appearance in the closing minutes of the Titan's gritty 24-20 win over the Bulldogs at Skilled Park on Friday night after Samau's demise.
Coach John Cartwright said on Saturday Samau's knee injury was "long term" and he is set to hand whiz kid Walker his starting debut against the Wests Tigers.
Cartwright sent busy hooker Nathan Friend, five-eighth Ashley Harrison and forward Mark Minichiello for precautionary x-rays after they sustained hand injuries in the Titans' sixth successive home win.
"They're just precautionary," said Cartwright who revealed he'd decided on the spur of the moment to throw Walker into the tense final minutes Friday night.
Lock Daniel Conn injured his shoulder late in the game making a desperate try-saving tackle on Bulldog Michael Sullivan but is expected to be right for the weekend.
Cartwright said he put Walker into the game on "gut instincts".
"Sometimes you just go with your gut. They didn't have skyscraping wingers and it just seemed the right time.
"I was hoping the game would open up at some stage so we could throw him out there.
"As it was we didn't get any ball any.
"It was good for him and it's just a shame he didn't get much ball."
Walker had a shaky start, losing the ball on his first touch but, as Cartwright pointed out, he wasn't on his own with his players at one stage turning the ball over seven successive times early in the tackle count.
Walker was thrilled to have made his NRL debut even if it when past him in a flash.
"It's something you dream about when you're a kid but it went too fast," he said.