Jack Walker says this year’s experience in The Qualifiers is just as important for his development as Leeds’ 2017 Grand Final victory. The 19-year-old established himself at Headingley last season and impressed from full-back as the Rhinos claimed an eighth Old Trafford triumph of the Super League era.
Walker and his team-mates have not had it so easy this time around and are working hard to book their place in the top flight for next season.
After the highs of last year, the England Knights representative feels his team’s difficulties in 2018 have taught him just as much.
He told loverugbyleague.com: “It is a massive learning curve for me, last year I was in a winning culture and I got to win the Grand Final, but this year is totally different.
“We are in the Middle 8s now and it is a massive learning curve for me. The pressure of the game (against Widnes on Sunday) was really difficult but we just had to grind the win out.”
Sunday’s win at Widnes sets Kevin Sinfield’s side up well for Friday’s visit of table-toppers Salford and Walker is expecting a massive test against the Red Devils.
He added: “The win at Widnes is massive for us. It was a really intense game and I thought every single one of us dug deep and worked really hard for each other throughout the game.
“I think if we beat Salford this weekend that we are guaranteed safety, so it is a big game for us and I think from a performance like the one at Widnes will really help us going into that game.”