A chat with coach Jason Demetriou over his enjoyment towards the game this week sparked Cody Walker into a five-star first half performance against the Warriors on Saturday.
Walker set up three tries and generated another two line break assists as the Bunnies held on to a two-point lead to notch their fifth win of the year in Magic Round.
The stand-in Rabbitohs captain delivered the perfect response after a week where he drew criticism for his performance against the Broncos, and for the club’s mixed start to the year.
“I had a brief chat with JD earlier in the week around why I play footy and it put me in a good mindset to enjoy what I do and that’s play footy,” Walker said after the game.
“I scale back my role a little bit and make sure my kick chase and effort areas were up. It got me in the game. Over the last couple of weeks we haven’t been performing.
“I probably reminded myself of why I do what I do, it put a smile on my face straight away.”
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Walker’s combination with Lachlan Ilias showed signs in the first half of the dominance the star five-eighth once had with Reynolds as the Rabbitohs raced to a 26-0 lead.
However, the second half reminded the pair of the work required to get back to be a dominant force in the NRL.
“I spoke to Lachy about the first half our chatter, we were chatting about different things, but in the second half we were just staying on our sides of the field,” Walker said.
“It’s just a reminder when we play together and that connection is so important to our team.
“If you look at the game we were two metres apart from each other in the first half. We need to be doing that more often.”
Demetriou said it wasn’t just a chat with Walker this week but the entire leadership group over the direction of the club’s season.
He added it was important to remember Ilias is 11 games into his NRL career but backed Walker to continue to mentor the young playmaker on the run.
"The conversation we had with our leadership group as a whole, obviously individually and as group around coming together and enjoying what we do," Demetriou said.
"It can get hot in the oven sometimes so it’s important for us to take that pressure off and do what we do well.
"It’s about enjoying playing together. I felt the second half against Brisbane I didn’t think we were as bad as it was made to believe."