Roosters skipper James Tedesco has defended young gun half Sam Walker after the talented playmaker copped criticism for his defence to start the season.

Walker missed 18 tackles in the first three rounds, but only missed two in the win over the Cowboys in a much improved performance off the ball.

Speaking on the Fox League podcast, Tedesco pointed out that Walker is still only 19 and needs time to bulk up and grow into his frame.

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“He’s such a skilful player Sammy, he’s an instincts player, just plays what he sees and I know he cops a bit for his defence but I think he’s done well.

“He’s had to put his body on the line a number of times and he’s only a small frame, hopefully he keeps getting bigger and he put on a couple of kilos.

“But I think halfbacks or halves don’t really develop until they’re 21 or 22 so there’s plenty of years left in him to develop and be at the top of his game.

“But I think for a young kid coming in, especially last year when he was rushed in without much help, he’s done a really good job for us.


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Sam Walker has copped criticism for his defence.Source: The Daily Telegraph

“He’s going to continue to develop and get better and better and I’m excited to see his growth.”

Walker has scored eight tries and set up many more in just 25 games of first grade to date after he was rushed into the team last year following an injury to Luke Keary.

Tedesco believes Keary needs time to readjust to first grade and the pair need time to develop their scrumbase combination.

“We’ve been a bit inconsistent,” Tedesco admitted.

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“Keary hadn’t played for a year and those two (Keary and Walker) hadn’t played together and Rads hadn’t played with them.

“There was a lot of combos we had to work on and I think a lot of the little things we took for granted a bit.

“We probably thought we’d go out and play our style but we had to definitely work for it the start of the year and we went back to that on the weekend just working for each other.”

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Tedesco believes the Roosters need to get the basics right and keep their style simple and allow for their talented players, including Walker to do their thing naturally rather than forcing it.

“We’ve got a lot of skilful players in our team so opportunities will come off the back of that, Joey Manu can create something out of nothing at times,” Tedesco said.

“So the thing for us is just keeping it simple, working on our combinations weekly and definitely completing.

“We’d made a lot of errors that let us down a bit but on the weekend we got back to Roosters footy and had a good result so we’ll look to keep that going this weekend.”

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