Don't expect Walker to be finished product: Barrett
Manly coach Trent Barrett has cautioned against expecting the club's new five-eighth Dylan Walker to slot seamlessly into Kieran Foran's old jersey but has backed the new recruit to be a success.
Walker was one of the first players Barrett – a star five-eighth himself as a player – identified as a priority when he was made head coach of the northern beaches club, and was delighted when circumstances at the Rabbitohs made Walker available a year earlier than expected.
He also brushed suggestions halfback Daly Cherry-Evans will have to shoulder all the playmaking responsibility alongside a running five-eighth, backing Test centre Walker to develop as a kicker and ball player as the season progresses.
"I'm looking forward to seeing [Cherry-Evans] and Dylan playing together, and 'Snake' [Brett Stewart]," Barrett told media on the eve of the side's final trial, against Ipswich on Saturday night.
"[Walker] has been impressive. I did watch him through his juniors a fair bit as a five-eighth and always thought that was his position.
"When I did get the job he was one of the first players that I went after to try and get and 'Bozo' [Bob Fulton] was of the same opinion.
"He certainly hasn't disappointed in that area – he looks comfortable there. There will be some teething problems there, we've had a fair bit to do with him in regards to his kicking and organisation but he's coming along fairly well.
"It certainly won't be a finished product at the start of the year, we need to just keep developing with him and Cherry but so far they look all right. We're very lucky to have them, they're both good players."
Barrett said the two would share the playmaking responsibilities throughout the year.
"They will share the ball playing duties but Daly will be the more dominant half. Dylan is a very good runner but so is Daly. Brett Stewart does a fair bit o the organising at the back and he's really important to us as well."
Overall Barrett was just hoping for "a nice, organised disciplined team" against Ipswich – along with no new injuries.
"I want to see the things put into practice that we've been practising for the last three months – the combinations and to be organised. We need to get to Round 1 confident and put ourselves in a good position to win that game. I just want to see a nice balanced performance and some blokes get some minutes under their belt."