Happiest I've ever been: Walker
Former South Sydney premiership winner Dylan Walker says he is the happiest he has ever been, a mere two months since officially joining the Sea Eagles on a four-year deal.
Trading the sights and sounds of Redfern for the northern beaches Walker has embraced coach Trent Barrett's training style, certainly a change of scenery to former mentor Michael Maguire's rigid ways with the Rabbitohs.
One of 12 new faces at the Manly club, the Mascot Jets junior said he has welcomed the change with open arms as he looks to link up in the halves with Daly Cherry-Evans in 2016.
"They're two hugely different environments. Manly are well-balanced I think in terms of training hard and getting your recovery and rest time. You probably enjoy it a little bit more when you have more recovery and downtime," Walker told NRL.com.
"In saying that we have been ripping in and everyone is looking fit, so it's probably the fittest and the happiest I have ever been.
"It's just been the change. Change is good for you. After winning the grand final I was pretty stoked sure, but now after having the environment around me change as I was heading into another pre-season it's just made me so excited.
"New changes, new faces, everything is new about this club and I definitely see myself being at the Sea Eagles for a long time."
Unsure whether he'll play alongside Cherry-Evans this weekend, Walker is ready to showcase his newfound responsibility against the Ipswich Jets at five-eighth, just two weeks out from season start.
Away from the field responsibility has been a buzz word for the 21-year-old with his shift to Manly coinciding with him moving out of home for the first time – but don't think for a second that Walker is vexed by his clean slate.
"I've had to grow up a little bit and start doing my washing and cooking so that's probably made me a better person and better son maybe as well," Walker said.
"There's a lot of responsibility put me on now but I don't really take that into account too much and I'm just excited to play footy again.
"I'm not looking at it as a big task, I've been training all pre-season and I'm feeling really comfortable with what I've done and what I have worked on in terms of combinations with everyone."
Replacing Kieran Foran would be a daunting task for any number of footballers in the NRL but Walker appears to be taking it in his stride – even if the Australian international has to play alongside a "Queenslander".
"[Cherry-Evans] has all the cash and I tell him to buy me a coffee every now and again but he's not giving in, but really he's been awesome. He's a Queenslander but he's a still good bloke and I have nothing bad to say about him," Walker said.
"We have been training hard all pre-season and our combination is getting better and better every week, even every day, so we just have to put that into practice now.
"I'm not pressured. I have done everything I can in the pre-season and I'm as confident as ever. There's been a lot of time and effort put in and I couldn't have done it without the players around me.
"There's a big difference between coming to a club and the outsiders are trying to put the pressure on, but everyone in the team wants me to do well and knows what I'm capable of so there's been no internal pressure."