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Cody's time to shine: 'Easy to be up' for special round

South Sydney five-eighth Cody Walker has praised the game-wide support for Indigenous round after putting in a starring performance on Thursday night.

"It's a pretty special round to be a part of," Walker said after his two-try effort capped off a match in which he had to also fill the role of sole playmaker after an early injury to Adam Reynolds.

"I'm a proud Aboriginal man. You don't need any extra motivation coming into this game. The build-up to the game, the stories that you're telling, it's easy to be up for it."

The proud Bundjalung and Yuin man contributed eight points while Biripi Nation man Latrell Mitchell (one try and four goals) and Saibai Island man Alex Johnston (three tries) contributed all the remaining Rabbitohs points.

"It's pretty special – Gags [Dane Gagai] is kicking himself he didn't get a try! It's awesome we were all a part of the build-up to the game, part of the jersey presentation and the design of the jersey.

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"We all had a piece of our family, our background on the jersey."

Having recently spoken eloquently about the importance of the Black Lives Matter protests, Walker welcomed the game-wide support for Indigenous Round.

"I'm really proud that the Black Lives Matter movement had so much support from different backgrounds," he said.

"We're seeing that shift, we're seeing that conversation started, we're seeing all of that and that's the way forward is if we educate ourselves on our dark history and move forward together as one, that's the way forward in my opinion."

Walker was also hopeful Johnston would be able to stay at Redfern beyond this season after the off-contract winger put in his best performance of 2020.

"He's a very experienced player, can play wing or fullback, you see with the defensive reads he made tonight, it was crazy that he makes those decisions (to try for an intercept) – he's just a smart character," Walker said.

"I'm not sure what's going to happen, it's out of my control. I'd be sad to see him play for another club, he's a Souths junior, came all through the ranks, he grew up in the South Sydney region."

Walker was also hopeful skipper Adam Reynolds would be back from a burner to his shoulder to take over the chief playmaking role against Brisbane in round 13.

"He's a huge part of our team, he's our general, he's our seven, he's got the best kicking game in the comp," Walker said.

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"I knew it was going to be a big loss. We didn't have a utility on the bench. We knew whoever went there was going to fill a role. I just wanted the boys to give ourselves an opportunity to be in the game.

"The last 60 minutes is the way we want to play our game, put fatigue into the opposition, play down their end and back our D.

"We didn't do that in the first 20 minutes and it showed in the scoreline."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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