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Cody Walker focused on the future, not the big final pain


You don’t need to mention this pass – Cody Walker lives with it every day, but won’t let a single mistake define his career.

Walker’s ill-timed cut ball, which was intercepted by Panthers winger Stephen Crichton for a runaway try, was a game-changing turn in last year’s Grand Final. If he had seen the Penrith winger crawling and putting a little less power on it, Dane Gagai would probably have come through a hole. If he had thrown the pass with a little more enthusiasm, Alex Johnston had free passage to sneak along the touchline.

Instead he found his way to Crichton, Penrith won and the rest is history.

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But as South Sydney team-mate Mark Nicholls pointed out, Walker was one of the main reasons the game was close at the time.

“To be honest, without Cody and Cam in this game, we’re no closer to where we made it – so nothing needs to be said. [about the intercept]“, said Nicholls.

Walker is coming off the best season of his life – his screaming tries and line-breaking numbers would have looked even more jaw-dropping if he hadn’t been overshadowed by Tom Trbojevic’s winning Dally M campaign – but he is focuses not only on improving himself, but others around him.

“We haven’t had all these discussions based on what happened or anything like that,” the five-eighth told Wide World of Sports.

“It’s not about changing the whole game plan and starting from scratch, it’s about finding small pockets in the game where we can improve.

“It’s not a nice feeling knowing we’ve lost, it’s quite devastating – but one of the great things in life is that if you get knocked down you can get back up – and my career is one of those. great example.”

Walker’s off-field issues earlier in his career are well-documented, and he considers himself the ultimate example of always looking forward.

He could have let a series of events prevent him from reaching the NRL, but instead made his debut in 2016 – at the ripe old age of 26.

“You can’t change the past so why dwell on it?” he said.

Walker will be joined in halftime by new halfback Lachlan Ilias, following Adam Reynolds’ high-profile transfer to the Broncos.

“He’s had a great pre-season, he’s a great youngster with a good temperament and kicking game, very strong in the gym – so now it’s just about keeping working hard,” said said Walker.

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It’s not exactly a bad way to learn your craft – getting into a backbone that includes Latrell Mitchell, Walker and Damien Cook.

“We’re always teaching him the things he needs to do, and one of his great qualities is that he’s ready to learn and listen. We’re really looking forward to seeing where his development goes.”

There’s almost a sense of fatherly pride on Walker’s part when he talks about the development of some of the young talents in the team over the past few seasons.

“That’s the great thing about our team – we have guys who are now well-established freshmen who have only arrived in the last two years. Keaon Koloamatangi and Campbell Graham are excellent ones. examples,” Walker said.

But it’s a now-deceased alumnus of that patented Southern left edge who still holds sway around Redfern.

“Dane Gagai worked religiously on his game – and the only thing you’ll see in this pre-season is Campbell Graham, Jaxson Paulo, Taane Milne doing the same things because they saw Gags doing them.

“Obviously it’s a big loss for us, but his mindset of wanting to improve was second to none and these guys understood that.”

But what about his former partner?

“I already deleted his number,” jokes Walker.

“We’ve had some friendly banter over the past two months.”

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Eleon

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