HARDMAN centre Steve Matai has gone on the front foot to back Dylan Walker, predicting he will become a star for the Sea Eagles at five-eighth.
And he was a bit surprised about all the attention Walker has received after the opening round loss to the Bulldogs.
“There was a lot of build-up in the off-season about ‘Walks’ and there was a bit of pressure going into the game,” he said.
“It is only round one so he has a lot of time to form those combinations with the players outside and inside him.”
Matai has witnessed just what Walker is capable of through the gruelling pre-season campaign.
“When he first came to the club I was quite surprised at his ball playing skills and I didn’t know he had such a good pass on him and could read the game really well,” Matai said.
Dylan Walker in action against the Bulldogs. Picture: Mark Evans
“I think if he does that in the next few weeks he will be a star for us.”
Walker is still working on his combination with halfback Daly Cherry-Evans.
“There is a lot of pressure on Cherry,” Matai said.
“I think he has done a great job in the off-season. He has trained well and trained hard with ‘Walks’.”
Matai is ready for backrower Martin Taupau to unleash when he lines up against Wests Tigers, his former club, on Monday night at Leichhardt Oval
“I’m expecting him to grab the ball and just run through everyone,” Matai said. “He’s been pretty quiet which is good, so hopefully it’s the calm before the storm.”
Matai thinks he will be fit for the game after rolling his ankle against the Bulldogs. “I’ve got a bit of floating bone in there. I had a cortisone injection on Monday so hopefully it settles down,“ he said.