Roosters' Walker back on top after 'loss of confidence'

Having lost confidence during a tumultuous 2023 season, Sam Walker has his mojo back as the Sydney Roosters prepare for their first clash with Brisbane since Spencer Leniu's highly publicised racial slur.

Walker said the Roosters expect to be in the spotlight ahead of their May 3 rematch with the Broncos, but that the side would remain focused.

The halfback was the Roosters' mastermind in their 60-18 demolition of St George Illawarra on Thursday, earning the Ashton Collier Spirit of Anzac Medal after scoring a try and setting up three others on his return from concussion.

His Allianz Stadium masterclass made it easy to forget that a year ago to the day Walker was watching on during his first weekend dropped from first grade over form concerns.

"It was really disappointing last year to miss it." Walker said of the traditional Anzac Day clash.

That axing began a tough stretch for the 21-year-old, who suffered a long-term knee injury in the weeks that followed and did not return to first grade until late August.

Walker had his moments on return to the NRL for the business end of 2023 - notably kicking the field goal that won the Roosters their elimination final clash against Cronulla.

But something was still off for the young Queenslander.

"I was probably missing that bit of confidence to be able to go out there and do what I do," Walker said after Thursday's win over the Dragons.

"(Now) I'm feeling really confident, I've had a couple of weeks to sit back and watch. I was really clear on what I wanted to do today."

"We'll be back at it in a couple of days. I can't wait to go back to Brisbane and play back home in front of the family."

The Broncos clash carries extra weight after the Roosters' marquee signing Leniu was embroiled in a racism saga when the sides met at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas in round one.

Leniu called Broncos five-eighth Ezra Mam a "monkey", subsequently receiving an eight-week ban that rules him out of the rematch.

The incident cast a long shadow over the NRL's foray into the American market, and Walker expected it to again make headlines ahead of next Friday's game.

"There'll be a lot spoken about us coming up against the Broncos again but we're really clear about what we want to do," he said.

"We've got a lot of experience in that (dressing) room ... they've played in some big games.

"I'm sure they've played in bigger controversies than this. It's just another game for us and I'm really looking forward to it."

Broncos coach Kevin Walters said on Friday that Mam was a chance to miss the Roosters clash with the finger injury that will keep him out of the round-eight trip to face Wests Tigers at Campbelltown.

Walker is hopeful of coming up against Mam, one of a number of good friends and former junior teammates in the Broncos' line-up.

"(Mam) went through a little bit there. I'm sure he'll be up for the game," Walker said, reflecting on the fallout from Las Vegas.

"I'm really looking forward to coming up against those boys that I grew up with."