Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Merv Heads Home; Jets Player Returns to North Queensland to Join Pride

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Merv Heads Home; Jets Player Returns to North Queensland to Join Pride

Article excerpt

Byline: JAY BUCHAN

Country lad

Favourite players: Greg Inglis and Matt Bowen

Best advice: Go hard or go home

Pre-match ritual: I always pray

Favourite TV show: Home and Away

Hobby: Playing guitar

Favourite music: Reggae and country

THE best piece of advice Mervyn Walker has heard is C[pounds sterling]go hard or go homeC[yen].

It is what brought him to the Ipswich Jets as a promising 17-year-old footballer determined to test himself at a higher level.

Now he is taking his chance to go hard and go home.

Walker has signed a contract with the Northern Pride and will return to North Queensland next week.

Walker, from Mareeba, spent three seasons with the Jets.

But when the Pride opened their doors to him, the lure of home was too great to resist.

Walker returns a much more confident and worldly person, as well as a better footballer, and is grateful to the opportunities the Jets provided him, which include helping him start his vehicle building apprenticeship.

Walker left the Pride's system for the Jets because he felt the opportunities were greater here to progress his football, with Ipswich fielding Colts and FOGS Cup teams the Pride didn't.

C[pounds sterling]The Pride were pretty angry when I came down,C[yen] Walker said.

C[pounds sterling]But they didn't have junior development and I thought Ipswich was a good breeding ground.C[yen]

Jets CEO Brad Wolens confirmed the Pride were not happy about Walker's departure.

C[pounds sterling]They were filthy when I first got him,C[yen] Wolens said.

C[pounds sterling]But up there he would have been playing in the local comp.

C[pounds sterling]He thought the pathway here was a little bit better.C[yen]

So it has proved, with Walker learning the ropes in the Jets Colts and FOGS Cup teams.

It wasn't easy to start with. …

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