Walker inspired by childhood hero
Somewhere inside South Sydney centre Dylan Walker is his shy 10-year-old self sitting at Coogee Oval watching dual-international Lote Tuqiri strut his stuff.
It was almost a decade ago now when Walker first met his teammate and right-edge partner Tuqiri, then at the Waratahs, during a rugby union clinic – a self-confessed special moment for the Mascot Jets junior.
Now five weeks shy of his 20th birthday, Walker is revelling at the prospect of playing finals football with a childhood "icon".
"I've mentioned it to him a couple of times but you don't want be like give me your autograph or anything like that," Walker laughed.
"It was surreal just seeing a player of his calibre back then and actually getting to play with him now is just awesome.
"I have a had a couple of photos with him and we have had some good laughs and times together so it is awesome that he is playing here at Souths with us and hopefully we can make the best of it."
Playing alongside one of his childhood heroes, with the Rabbitohs slated for their third consecutive finals campaign, Walker is quick to point out these opportunities don't often too occur.
Tuqiri, having only featured in a lone Grand Final back in 2000 with Brisbane, has offered Walker such advice, with the young centre clear that these chances have to be appreciated.
"[These opportunities] are what you think about as a young bloke," Walker said.
"Yet after speaking to the veterans you realise that these opportunities don't happen often and Lote... tells you how important it is to cherish the moments that you have."
In his second season of NRL football, Walker believes with his consecutive chances of winning a premiership has fast-tracked him into the explosive fan-favourite seen week-in, week-out.
Walker even came into Origin contention when the Blues’ stocks ran low earlier in the year, with his 10 tries, 12 line breaks, nine try assists, 76 tackle breaks and 116.2 metres per game showing he wouldn't look out of place in a sky blue jumper.
"I'm definitely more experienced than what I was last year," Walker said. "There was definitely an important feeling about last year but this time around we know we have to take each week as it comes."
"With last year being my first season I was just enjoying the time but with this season coming around having done a full pre-season and going through the rough patch that we had I'm definitely learning and growing as a person.
"I go into every game as confident as I can because I know that I've done the training and the hard work throughout the whole year."