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Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker.

Cody Walker admits it would be "heartbreaking" if he doesn't get another chance to represent NSW at State of Origin.

The disappointment, however, would be tempered by the honour of captaining South Sydney for the first time against Penrith on Saturday night.

While those outside the Rabbitohs' inner sanctum were debating whether Walker should retain his place in the Blues team for Origin II, Souths coach Wayne Bennett called the star playmaker into his office and told him he would captain the team in the absence of Sam Burgess.

Walker was unable to steer the Rabbitohs home after missing a late field goal attempt in their 19-18 loss to the Panthers at ANZ Stadium but he said captaining the oldest club in the Telstra Premiership was another proud moment in a season of achievements for the 29-year-old.

"It was a huge honour and a privilege to captain a side that has been around since 1908," Walker said. "It is an honour to play in the jersey, let alone captain it."

With Burgess undergoing shoulder surgery that is expected to sideline him for five weeks, Walker had expected John Sutton – the club's 2014 premiership-winning captain and record holder for the most appearances – to take over the role.

Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Panthers

However, Bennett chose Walker, who this year captained the Indigenous All Stars team and played five-eighth for NSW in Origin I.  

"Wayne came to me and he said, ‘I need to talk to you' in his office," Walker said. "I walked in and he said ‘you are going to captain the side'.

"I was a bit blown away by him picking me because I thought the obvious answer was John Sutton. He has captained this side to a grand final.

"I was blown away, overwhelmed and excited to be given the job. He just said ‘you deserve it, you are a big part of the side, a big part of what we do in attack'.

"It was a huge honour and it has been a big season, but it's not over yet."

After being benched in the 67th minute of NSW's 18-14 loss to Queensland before returning to set up a try for lock Jake Trbojevic, there has been speculation Walker would lose his spot to Mitchell Pearce or James Maloney.

Bennett: Give Walker second chance in sky blue

Walker said he was uncertain whether he would be on the plane to Perth for next Sunday night's must-win Origin clash.

"Obviously it is an arena I want to be in so I suppose I will just have to wait until tomorrow and see if I get the call," Walker said.

"It would be a little bit heartbreaking but it is what it is, I suppose. You live and you learn."

Walker said he was proud of the way the Rabbitohs played without any of the Burgess brothers, Sam, George or Tom, for the first time since 2012, as well as star halfback Adam Reynolds.

He said Souths' defence was much better than in last weekend's loss to Newcastle but after putting James Roberts on the outside of Josh Mansour with a long pass that led to the speedster breaking into the clear before sending Dane Gagai over for a try, he was disappointed the Rabbitohs couldn't secure the win.

Roberts turns on the jet boots

A 76th minute field goal attempt went wide of the right upright and Walker said he had initially intended to grubber the ball into the in-goal and force a repeat set.

Instead, Penrith five-eighth James Maloney landed the match-winning field goal at the other end.

"Those things I need to be nailing and I gave them a seven-tackle set, they went down the other end and James Maloney slotted it from 30 metres out or whatever," Walker said.

"I am very proud of the guys' efforts but we just gave them too much ball."