TWILIGHT: Andrew Walker playing in the final year of his career with the Queensland Reds.
TWILIGHT: Andrew Walker playing in the final year of his career with the Queensland Reds.

A tale of two vastly different rugby union journeys

THE Ipswich Rangers senior coaching team possesses complementary knowledge but the two taskmasters have had very different journeys.

After entering senior rugby with Randwick at 17, Andrew Walker played in the 1991 grand final and earned selection to the Australian under-21 side.

Leaving rugby for league, he had three years with the St George Dragons, five at the Sydney Roosters and one with Manly.

His Kangaroos cap came in a Test against PNG in 1996.

Lured back to rugby, he spent four years as a wing and fullback with the ACT Brumbies, securing the record for the most tries in one season in 2000 (13 tries, including two hat-tricks).

Walker became Australia's 40th dual code international when he debuted for the Wallabies against the All Blacks in July 2000.

In all he played eight Tests, including Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup matches between 2000-02, and three against the Lions.

Following a two-year break he took his family to France in 2006 and contested 18 games for Gaillac.

In 2007, he joined the Reds, winding up his illustrious pro career in July, 2008.

Over the last 12 years, he has played and coached at several rugby league clubs in Ipswich, while setting up his own personal coaching business.

Hailing from Huntly in Waikato, NZ, where he played suburban rugby, Paul Faapo and wife Melanie moved to Brisbane in 2007.

Linking with Wests Bulldogs at Toowong, he played premier rugby and first grade before stepping back in 2015.

Taking on a player/coach role in lower grades, he got his first taste of mentoring.

From 2016 to 2018 he coached in the Colts system at Wests, working hard in the development of the young Bulldogs men.

Asked to assist coaching junior rep teams in 2018, he was rewarded the following year with the head coaching role of Brisbane Red at the BJRU State Championships.

Last year, he first linked with Rangers, guiding the under-13 Division One outfit to the decider.

He also coached the St Peters 14As and assisted the 13As at Ipswich Grammar, maintaining his heavy focus on youth development.