Blues' Walker ready to roam in Origin

NSW squad member Cody Walker said he has learned from last year's State of Origin disappointment.
NSW squad member Cody Walker said he has learned from last year's State of Origin disappointment.

Cody Walker has promised to do things differently if he gets a second chance at State of Origin for NSW, vowing to play the way he did for South Sydney this year.

The Blues on Thursday will unveil their 21-man squad for next week's series opener in Adelaide, with Luke Keary the favourite to claim the No.6 jersey.

But Walker won't be far behind and could even be a bench option during the series.

The 30-year-old's finish to the NRL season was one of the best in memory and he looms as a threat on both sides of the ruck.

It has served as a stark reminder for Walker of the way to play if given the nod by Brad Fittler.

A Game I debutant last year, Walker parked himself on the left and had just 24 touches in the first 56 minutes of the game.

He was benched before returning with 10 minutes to play with much more impetus.

"For 50-something minutes I didn't play the sort of footy I'm capable of," Walker said this week.

"I was taken off for 10 or 12 minutes and I went floating around, looking for the ball.

"That's the way I play. I want to be around the ball, I want to be busy, I want to run the ball."

Walker said he doesn't know why he went into his shell last year but is adamant it won't happen again.

"If you look at the games this year at the Rabbitohs, I'm right, I'm here, I'm all over the shop," he said.

"It's up to myself to get me into the game. If I need to look for the footy, I need to go look for it.

"If I get another chance, I'll handle things differently."

Walker insisted off the field he has also learned from last year.

The Casino junior admitted earlier this year he started drinking again during the Blues camp in 2019, before his season spiralled.

He has been off the booze for the majority of 2020 and, although his self-imposed ban has now ended, he believes he is better placed to deal with pressure.

"Once you've been in this situation before, you handle things a bit different," Walker said.

'I had a lot of disappointment from last year's Origin camp, what it now brings is a bit of resilience."

Meanwhile, Walker insisted there was no need to clear the air with his former Souths teammate Keary.

As well as battling for the five-eighth spot, the pair were involved in a slanging match last year in which Keary labelled Walker "disrespectful" and claimed it'd come back to hurt him.

"It's normal, as usual," Walker said.

"I understand the situation I'm in - he's won two comps, he's probably been the No.1 five-eighth over the last couple of years.

"Jack Wighton is the Dally M medallist, I know where I stand."

Australian Associated Press