In today’s edition of the Manchester Evening News, it was exclusively revealed that prop-forward Adam Walker has joined Salford Red Devils.
Walker hasn’t played since testing positive for cocaine whist at Wakefield Trinity in 2017, but the now reformed character has the chance to make an impact once again; an opportunity that isn’t lost on him.
The 27-year-old said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have a club for the 2019 season and I’m extremely grateful to Salford Red Devils for giving me this opportunity.
“From day one speaking to Director of Rugby and Operations Ian Blease and Head Coach Ian Watson I could see that Salford – as a Club – have some real strong beliefs and values that centre around the community and doing good in the local area. I knew straight away that this was the kind of club I wanted to be at.
“I’ve not been perfect in the past. I don’t think anyone is. But you need to learn from your mistakes and develop as a person and player afterwards.
“It’s been a tough few years for myself not being able to play the sport I love on a regular basis. I was suffering from some mental health issues at the time which in turn led to me making a big mistake. I don’t want to use that as an excuse, I accepted and learnt from my punishment.
“In my time away from the game I feel like I’ve matured a lot. I honestly feel I’ve turned the corner, I’ve regained my love for the sport back and I’m ready for the next chapter.
“At a club like Salford, I’ve got the best opportunity to continue to grow as a person by going into the community, talking about the lessons I’ve learnt and promoting Rugby League in a positive manner.
“The sport of Rugby League has been very good to me. The support I received from the RFL, in particular Emma Rosewarne, was brilliant and really helped me on my road to recovery. I’ve now been offered a second chance and it’s up to me to make sure I grab it with both hands.”
Bradford-born Walker began his career with Huddersfield Giants but spent the majority on loan with Barrow Raiders and Swinton Lions. However, it was at Hull Kingston Rovers where the forward made his name while also being a regular for the Scottish National side.
Walker said: “I was playing at the highest and most consistent level I’ve ever competed at four or five years ago and I was loving every minute of it.
“During my time at Hull Kingston Rovers I managed to draw attention from Australia and even spoke to Melbourne Storm, but I decided to see out my contract at Hull. Chris Chester was very supportive of me and that helped massively. Of course, I got the move to St Helens and then eventually Wakefield, both of whom are great Super League clubs.
“I was also in the Scotland National side on a regular basis and for that to slip away because of a silly decision whilst at Wakefield was massively disappointing but it has only made me hungrier now to turn things around and strive to get back to where I want to be.”
Due to his suspension, Walker is yet to train with the Red Devils but has no concerns about catching up on pre-season and returning to the field in top condition.
Walker said: “I know I’ve a lot of work to do. I’ve not been able to train but once I’m allowed to get back on the field regularly.
“I know the Head Strength and Conditioning – Greg Brown – from my time with Swinton and I know he will get the best out of me physically. I’ll be pushing myself further than I have before to ensure I’m ready for my first game back whenever that may be.”
Adam Walker will be available to play for the Red Devils in March.
Salford Red Devils return to action for the first time in almost four months on Saturday as they clash with local rivals Swinton Lions at the AJ Bell Stadium, 1pm kick-off. Tickets are available at the AJ Bell Stadium, over the phone and online HERE.