Cody Walker is backing himself to maintain a lid on his notoriously sizzling mood when he returns to the State of Origin area, hoping to lock down a long-term spot with NSW.
Throughout seven-and-a-half years with South Sydney, the late-blooming five-eighth has developed a status as a fiery buyer.
Rabbitohs teammates have repeatedly pointed to Walker’s ardour for the sport as grounds for his temperament, of which Souths’ rivals have begun to take benefit.
Walker notably refused to shake Cameron McInnes’ hand following a good loss to Cronulla final yr after the Sharks baited him on their approach to victory.
Early this season, the 33-year-old pushed Sydney Roosters halfback Sam Walker over in backplay and conceded a penalty that marched Souths’ rivals upfield to win the sport.
After two years out of NSW calculations, Walker will make his return on July 12, usurping Jarome Luai at five-eighth as NSW hope to keep away from a sequence whitewash.
No area in rugby league is extra emotional than State of Origin however Walker stated he’d labored onerous on his mood this season and would stay unflappable at Accor Stadium.
“I have been doing it fairly effectively (this yr),” he stated.
“I am not getting offended and issues like that. It is most likely one thing that I’ve labored on during the last couple of years.
“There’d be completely different occasions once I’d lose my shit, as individuals would say.
“This yr, I actually targeted on what I must do to get out of that headspace or what my group wants of me in that individual time.”
Walker’s standing as a senior participant has helped encourage the change. For the reason that departure of Adam Reynolds on the finish of the 2021 season, the inexperienced Lachlan Ilias has performed reverse Walker as halfback.
“I perceive my position within the group as being one of many senior playmakers within the group that the group is dependent upon, that calm head,” he stated.
“There’s most likely two video games (this yr) I can consider the place I most likely let my head get the higher of me, which is disappointing.
“However I am not an ideal participant. I am not an ideal particular person.
“I am all the time studying, making an attempt to enhance areas of my sport. That is comprehensible to dip out and in of that nevertheless it’s how I flip round and bounce again from that.”
It was Luai who ousted Walker from the Blues aspect in 2021 and had saved him out thereafter.
Luai’s mixture with Penrith teammate and Blues halfback Nathan Cleary, at present injured, had made him an attractive prospect for coach Brad Fittler and there have been occasions Walker thought his ship might have sailed after 4 Origin video games.
“There have been occasions once I did suppose it had sailed,” Walker stated.
“Final yr I do not suppose I used to be taking part in the best footy in the beginning of the yr to warrant choice.
“I most likely have not performed my biggest footy within the sky blue jersey.
“(Origin III) is an opportunity for me to proper these wrongs.”
Now that he is again within the fray, Walker is intent on staying put.