Cody Walker, the NSW playmaker, has been praised as “the most dangerous and creative five-eighth in the game for the last four years” after being chosen over his younger rival. The 33-year-old Walker will wear the Blues’ No. 6 jersey for the upcoming clash at Accor Stadium, following Jarome Luai‘s removal from the team. South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou expressed his confidence in Walker’s ability to perform on the big stage and potentially solidify his spot as the NSW five-eighth. He described Walker as a player who not only excels in creativity but also manages teams effectively throughout games, a valuable trait for the Origin team.
Demetriou also highlighted that age should not be a concern when evaluating Walker’s abilities. Despite being older than Nicho Hynes, who was in the running for the position, and one year younger than Queensland halfback Daly Cherry-Evans, Walker’s experience and durability set him apart. Demetriou emphasised that Walker has the opportunity to showcase himself not only in the current game but also for future seasons. Walker’s resilience and ability to stay focused in high-pressure situations were commended by Demetriou, noting that he has only lost his cool twice this year, with one instance occurring recently against the Cowboys.
Demetriou assured that Walker will handle the pressure well and knows what he needs to do on the field. The coach acknowledged the distractions and lack of connection caused by the Origin series and injuries, which might have contributed to the frustrations expressed by Walker and the team in their match against the Cowboys. However, he expressed confidence in Walker’s ability to stay in the moment and perform at his best. Playing at home will also provide additional motivation for Walker, as he will have the support of his family and teammates.
In addition to Walker, several of his South Sydney Rabbitohs teammates will also join him in the Origin team. Damien Cook, Cameron Murray, and Koloamatangi have all been selected. Demetriou spoke highly of Koloamatangi, stating that the experience will contribute to his growth as a player and enhance the team’s performance. He highlighted Koloamatangi’s versatility and described him as one of the most dangerous back-rowers in the game. Having the support and camaraderie of Cook, Murray, and Walker will provide Koloamatangi with comfort and reassurance in his Origin debut.
Overall, there is a high level of confidence in Cody Walker‘s abilities as a playmaker, and his inclusion in the NSW team is seen as a significant opportunity for him to shine on the Origin stage. With his creativity, leadership, and composure, Walker is expected to make a strong impact in the upcoming game and potentially solidify his position as the NSW No.6.