Sam Walker of Sydney Roosters recently admitted that he isn’t quite certain why he’s often singled out by his South Sydney counterpart, Cody Walker. The latter has become a point of contention in media headlines due to an incident that occurred off-ball when the two rival teams last faced off.
Sixteen years Walker’s senior, Cody was penalised in round three after instigating a skirmish with Sam mid-play. This transgression resulted not only in a penalty advantage for Roosters but also the subsequent scoring of a try.
Having just returned to the field for the Roosters, Sam Walker is under no delusions about the relentless pressure he’ll face in his impending clash with the Rabbitohs at Accor Stadium, a match of paramount importance.
Sam has fond memories of days spent sideline as a ballboy for Ipswich Jets, watching Cody Walker in action for Easts Tigers in the Queensland Cup. However, their professional encounters on the NRL field have been notably adversarial. Throughout their memorable match-up in 2021, the pair clashed a number of times, instigating a brawl towards the game’s finish.
When pressed on the subject of Cody’s grudge, Walker said to the press, “I’m not too sure what’s happened there, I try to stay out of most of it. The last time we played, he didn’t hurt me with the push, we got the penalty out of it, and it also gave me a bit of a breather. It’s footy. That kind of stuff happens.”
Sam Walker doesn’t shy away from the challenge of facing his opponent, acknowledging Cody’s impressive performance this season. “I’m always excited for the challenge playing against him. He’s been in career-best form this year. He’s a great footballer. I know we’ll have a job on our hands trying to stop him.”
Sam Walker‘s return to the game last week marked his first game since the seventh round, following a season marked by a knee injury. His contribution to the Roosters‘ effort against Wests Tigers was formidable, scoring a try and furthermore surviving a concussion scare during a clash with Isaiah Papali’i.
The Roosters have strengthened their ranks with the return of skipper James Tedesco, though they mourn the loss of prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves due to suspension. Walker recognizes this loss, commenting, “Losing Jared is massive, and come Friday we will miss that leadership and aggression and fear factor he possesses.”
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is currently serving three matches after pleading guilty to an offence against Stefano Utoikamanu. His sentence is currently being reviewed at the judiciary and could result in either a fine or an increased four-match suspension.
Regardless of hopes from the club or Waerea-Hargreaves to associate his end-of-season Test matches for New Zealand as part of his ban, these are not to be realised. According to reliable sources, prospects for Waerea-Hargreaves playing in the end-of-year games are slim, with the likes of James Fisher-Harris, Moses Leota, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Joe Tapine, and Leo Thompson from Newcastle clearly marked above him in the selection order for forwards.