By Peter Argent
One of the salt of the earth, knock-about characters to hail from the Silver City, Wayne Walker is still strongly involved, these days educating young talents in our national football code.
Back at the Norwood Football Club, where he played SANFL Under 19’s football nearly half a century ago, Walker has a role at the Redlegs’ mentoring both the underage players and their coaches in the club’s elite junior programs.
“Last year I did some mentoring with Jackson Callow, a lad from Launceston when he was at Norwood,” Walker explained to the Barrier Truth.
“He was then picked up by Hawthorn in the mid-season draft last year and made his AFL debut in round seven this year.”
“Through the Redlegs ‘People, Culture and Pathways Manager’ Rick Shrowder, and because I enjoy working with youth, I’m now getting plenty of satisfaction being involved in seeing young football talent at The Parade learn and grow.
“We’re about creating a strong culture and accountability within our squads.
“Our mantra is about being inclusive and to the point of getting the parents involved.”
Wayno is one of nine players who have achieved the 300-game milestone in local footy, along with John Campbell, Walker’s good mate Peter Johns, Allen “Badger” Staker, Brett Morris, Rod Crampton, Randy Stenhouse, Brett “BJ” Johnson and Phil Neat.
Walker made his A grade debut in Broken Hill Football League (BHFL), back in 1974 with the Central Magpies, but started playing consistent senior football a couple of years later.
He would go on to become the first player to clock up the 350-game milestone in the BHFL, after 149 games at the Magpies, and 202 for the North Broken Hill Bulldogs.
He played in a total of nine flags across the two clubs, five with Central, including the four in a row from 1981, along with four more with the Bulldogs.
“I enjoyed four flags in a row with the Magpies under Don Price, before moving to North in ’85,” Walker mused.
“We played Central in that first year in the decider and went down by a few points.”
Along with his nine flags and 351 BHFL A grade games, Walker played Broken Hill representative football for the League on 22 occasions.
There are also four Middleton Medals (now called the Lionel Johnston Medal) across his football days at “the Hill”, with the first in 1978 and a second in 1983, both at Central Broken Hill, the third shared with Darren Gray in 1991 and the fourth won in 1995, with the latter pair in a Bulldogs’ jumper.
He donned the NSW state representative jumper in a half a dozen games, and at the request of ER “Rick” Davies played once for SA Country as well.
“I got a call from Rick after a player by the name of Richard Anderson pulled out of the team,” Walker explained.
“Perhaps one of the most memorable games in the NSW jumper was our first win against the VFA.”
Walker also worked in Broken Hill for eight years as an AFL development officer and won an Australia Medal for his services to football.
He also has a son, Taylor , who is also pretty handy at the code!