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Walker spared ***ans axe - just



The poor fellow has been at 5 different clubs in 6 seasons. While with the broncos he play all 6 State of Origin matches of 2001-02.

He was showing promise at his new club, the Gold Coast ***ans. In the 1st half of the 1st round of NRL this season, he scored 2 tries and then in the second half he broke is hand.

Hopefully everything will work out for him, and he will be back and at his best. Goodluck to him.

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The Gold Coast ***ans went perilously close to sacking Chris Walker before receiving independent medical advice on his psychological problems that may have saved his chequered NRL career.

The ***ans imposed a stringent set of conditions on Walker - including a hefty fine believed to be around $25,000 - following an incident at a Surfers Paradise nightclub on April 7.

A heavily intoxicated Walker was ejected from Melbas nightclub in Surfers Paradise after becoming involved in an altercation with a patron.

Walker was later diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and alcohol dependency and his career hung in the balance while the ***ans sought an independent assessment on his condition.

"It corroborated the evidence that was given to us last week and that allowed us to move forward and understand that the condition affected the incident and that was important for us to get that," Searle told AAP.

He had earlier told reporters at a press conference: "I think it's fair to say that until this recent condition was raised that termination was a very real option for him and it was a very real option.

"The club has taken advice and I think we've come up with the right mix of ... sending a sound message that NRL clubs will support the player but we also have a high level of expectations on the players and their discipline."

The strict conditions slapped on the 27-year-old winger are:

* an agreement to enter into an eight-week rehabilitation program funded by the ***ans in a residential hospital yet to be determined.

* a ban on alcohol, gambling or entering any licensed premises while contracted to the club;

* the ***ans will pay for a mentor for the rest of the year to guide Walker through his recovery program following his release from hospital.

* fined 25 per cent of his contract - the maximum amount under NRL rules;

* suspended from ***ans training for eight weeks. His suspension has been lifted and he can train and play for Gold Coast's feeder club Ipswich Jets.

The ***ans have agreed to fund Walker's on-going psychological care once he leaves the hospital, which is likely to be interstate.

Asked whether Walker had taken enough responsibility for his actions, Searle replied: "I think the fact that he's put his hand up and admitted he's got a problem, he's suffering from a condition, I think that's a great step.

"I don't think you can ask any person to do any more in the public forum he's in. I think that's a great start."

Searle said a "grateful" Walker was fully aware of the magnitude of his problems and the long road to recovery ahead for the talented footballer.

"I think the recent incident came from left-field. We didn't see it coming and I don't think Chris saw it coming," Searle added.

"This will give him an opportunity to enter into a program that will identify the triggers that may affect him."

Searle refused to reveal the possible identity of Walker's mentor but said it would be someone with life experience.

"We'll keep that private and confidential but we've interviewed a couple of people today," he said.

"They'll be qualified to help him through the process once he gets out of hospital."

Searle said that no-one within the ***ans or Walker's previous clubs Brisbane, Souths, Sydney Roosters and the Storm were aware of his medical condition until it emerged recently.

"This probably goes a long way to explaining his indiscretions in the past," Searle said.

"It certainly doesn't absolve him of those indiscretions and there's been lots of good clubs involved in his treatment before.

"We've probably been fortunate enough in that we've been able to diagnose it and hopefully we can come up with a regime that can assist him, not so much in his football career but maybe life after football."


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