Cody Walker can't quite believe he is back wearing the sky-blue No.6 jersey after being dropped after one game last year and is ready to take on some unfinished business at Origin level.
Luke Keary has found himself in the same position Walker was in last year, discarded after one game despite showing a few positive signs but for Walker at least, who was impressive off the bench last Wednesday, there is a chance to show he belongs at this level.
"Last year I didn't really think I would get another shot at it," Walker said.
"I'm very grateful to get another opportunity to be in the camp let alone starting at No.6. I just can't wait to get out there. I am buzzing, I'm ready to go and am pretty excited."
He admitted it was "quite tough" to learn last year his first game would be his last, for the time being at least.
Match: Blues v Maroons
Game 2 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
However there is no question Walker's form in 2020 was compelling, with 21 try assists and 10 tries in his 21 games.
"You don't know how to react to that stuff until you get put in that situation [of being dropped]," he added.
"I probably took a little bit of time to regain my confidence and started to play my best footy at the back end of last year. It obviously did take a little time.
"I just wanted to come out this year [in top form] and I think that's what I did, especially at the back end of the year."
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Asked if he had unfinished business in Origin, Walker had no hesitation in answering in the affirmative.
"I was hoping to get another crack last year and that wasn't the case," he said.
"I'm just obviously very grateful for another opportunity I suppose. I have to get my hands on the footy a little bit earlier than I did last year."
While Walker was dynamic off the bench in game one in a sort of roaming lock role alongside Nathan Cleary and Luke Keary, he is relieved to be in the more familiar starting role again.
"The unknown, sitting on the bench I have never done that before," he said.
"I just want to get on there and create a bit of energy and follow the ball around.
"I made four [tackles] in a row when I got on the field which is tough, I have a newfound respect for the middles. I tried to create a fair bit of energy.
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"I was playing a bit of lock, almost a second fullback, loose half. Defending in the middle. I just thought we didn't put enough work into Queensland. They made it really hard for us, just kicking to corners. It's an area we need to improve for sure."
With a chance to resume his combination with Cleary after the one game spell last year, Walker said communication between the pair would be important.
"Just letting Nath know where I am and just connecting with each other is the key. And then Teddy can chime in wherever he can. Energy and talk is the big one," Walker said.
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Cleary's praised Walker's efforts to force his way back into the side and was relishing the chance to resume their partnership.
"Game one last year feels like so long ago but seeing how far Cody's come in that space of time as well, he's an absolute freak of a player, he brings that real X-factor and just talking to him about footy as well, he's super footy smart," Cleary said.
"He was amazing [for Souths this year], we obviously faced them in that preliminary final and any time he got the ball it was kind of like danger signs so it was pretty cool to be able to play with him and have him on your side now and I'm looking forward to seeing him play."
Game two tickets start from $45 for members and $49 for general public or get your wig and experience the Blatchy’s effect from $85 for members or $90 for the general public