Brisbane Lions defender Josh Walker. Pic: Michael Klein
Brisbane Lions defender Josh Walker. Pic: Michael Klein

Keep walking: Axed Lion headed for third club

JOSH Walker has emerged as North Melbourne's key defensive saviour in the wake of his Brisbane Lions delisting.

The Kangaroos have an active interest in Walker, with coach Rhyce Shaw eager to add defensive depth to his squad.

Scott Thompson's retirement has left Robbie Tarrant as the Roos' only experienced tall stopper, with Majak Daw not seen at AFL level since 2018.

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Walker, 26, last month became a victim of the Lions' blossoming squad and good run with injury last season, but his delisting surprised many in the industry given his intercept marking strength.

He was even in the conversation for All-Australian selection early in the season after featuring in nine of the Lions' first 10 games before falling out of favour.

Walker arrived at the Gabba after 33 games for Geelong, where he was used primarily as a forward. But his best footy came as a defender for the Lions.

He has played 85 AFL games.

Walker could be heading to the Kangaroos. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Walker could be heading to the Kangaroos. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

"Josh Walker should be playing league footy and should be on a list next year," Lions great Alastair Lynch told Fox Footy last month.

"At worst, he's a very reliable key-position player at either end as a back-up.

"Everyone feels that he's been around for a long time - and he has to a certain extent - but he's got plenty of good footy ahead of him."


North Melbourne can immediately sign Walker as a delisted free agent, with the first signing window having opened on Friday and running until November 11.

Speaking on the first day of trade period last month, Roos coach Shaw put on record the club's search for a key defender.

North Melbourne made a play for Port Adelaide's Dougal Howard, but lost out to St Kilda.

"We need a key back and Dougal, obviously, fits that mould for us but there are a couple of other players in that area we might have a look at," Shaw said.

"We're looking to fill that need down back."

Walker is among a clutch of delisted talls holding out hope of an AFL lifeline, with Lachie Henderson, Mitch Brown, Callum Moore and Fletcher Roberts all moved on by their respective clubs.

Brown is currently on holiday in Peru, but his management has fielded some interest from clubs surprised he was let go by Essendon after his 21-goal season and the Bombers' injury issues in the forward half.

Wylie Buzza (Port Adelaide), Jack Newnes (Carlton), Sam Gray (Sydney) and Kaiden Brand (Sydney) have found new clubs since the free agency period started on Friday.

The first delisted free agency window closes on November 11 before the second window runs from November 13-22.

A third delisted free agency period will take place on November 29.