Rabbitoh debut a family affair
Although the bitter taste of grand final defeat still lingers, new South Sydney signing Cody Walker is preparing to start his new life in Sydney by shouting his young son Kian a ticket to the NRL Grand Final to watch his beloved Rabbitohs on Sunday.
Walker finished his three-year stint with the Easts Tigers in last Sunday's Intrust Super Cup Grand Final where a red-hot Northern Pride kept the creative half well contained on their way to a 36-4 win to advance to the NRL State Championship Final.
Contracted to the Storm in 2014, Walker will no doubt be an interested spectator for the main curtain-raiser on Sunday but it will be the big one between South Sydney and Canterbury that will garner most of his interest having signed to play with the Rabbitohs for the next two seasons.
It's been a somewhat nomadic existence in 2014 for the Casino-born Walker who has spent the majority of his week in Melbourne before flying to Brisbane to play with Easts, all while his partner, Nellie Bell and their two young sons, Kian and Kade, have been domiciled in Sydney.
With Kian atop his shoulders in the centre of Suncorp Stadium in the wake of his disappointing exit from the Tigers, Walker spoke of the desire to reunite with his family as they reason in signing with the Rabbitohs rather than extending his stay with the Storm.
"My partner and my two kids live there so that was the biggest factor moving forward and signing with Souths, that was the biggest thing," Walker tells NRL.com.
"You talk about being happy inside footy but outside footy is just as important and your home life is just as important as your time at the club. I think being around my family 24/7 will lift me like nothing else.
"I think I might go [to the Grand Final]. My partner's a full-on South Sydney supporter and the young fella loves the Rabbitohs so I think I might go and babysit."
He may not get the opportunity to meet his new team-mates on Sunday but Walker remains excited at the prospect of joining one of the NRL's strongest squads.
With Adam Reynolds and Luke Keary confirming their place as the Rabbitohs' preferred halves pairing for the forseeable future Walker will likely have to bide his time with North Sydney in the NSW Cup before finally getting his NRL debut.
A dangerous runner of the football with a terrific left-foot kicking game, Walker has scored 54 tries in 57 games across the past three seasons and in 2013 was named the Intrust Super Cup Player of the Year.
It's a handy option for South Sydney coach Michael Maguire to have up his sleeve and the 24-year-old can't wait to begin the next chapter.
"I thought I'd go out a winner here and I had full faith in the boys but it just wasn't to be but I'm not going to dwell on it too much," Walker said. "I think the quicker I move on from this the better it will be for me. I'll reflect on my time at Easts, it's a sad way to end.
"It's disappointing, it's been my home for three years and to go out like this... I don't know mate.
"I think I'll have a bit of time off. I had my house packed up and moved on Friday and all my stuff's getting in Sydney during the week.
"I'll go back to Sydney on Tuesday with my young family and then have a bit of a break and get back on the horse again."