Cody Walker provides 'definitive' response to Blues Origin debate: 'Genius'

An extraordinary display from the NSW No.6 has left many disgruntled Blues fans scratching their heads.

Cody Walker's incredible display on his State of Origin return for Game III left many fans wondering why he hasn't been playing more for the Blues. Pic: Getty
Cody Walker's incredible display on his State of Origin return for Game III left many fans wondering why he hasn't been playing more for the Blues. Pic: Getty

Former NSW coach Phil Gould described him as a "genius" and Maroons legend Cameron Smith said Cody Walker was easily "the best player on the field" as the Blues avoided a State of Origin series whitewash with a 24-10 win over Queensland in Game III. Following the Blues' triumph and Walker's stunning return to the Origin arena, frustrated NSW fans were left asking why the Rabbitohs playmaker had not featured more.

Walker has been one of the premier five-eighths in the NRL for several years and his intelligence and guile with the footy provided the spark in attack for NSW that was absent in the first two games. Three of NSW's four tries were scored on the left side after Walker found the perfect passes for his supports and his masterclass could spell trouble for Penrith's Jarome Luai, who was selected at No.6 in the first two games.

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Speaking on the Nine Network after the game, Gould was in awe of the display from the 33-year-old Blues No. 6. "Gee whiz, If I got fit I could score tries outside of Cody Walker. He is a marvel isn't he? He is just a genius player," Gould said.

"He brought that left side to life and really taunted that Queensland right-hand side defence. I just love the way he changes the pace.

"He gets the ball and everything moves quicker. He gets the ball and everything moves slower. Bradman Best was able to tap into that."

Blues rookie Best had a debut to savour, starring for NSW in a two-try display to pose yet another question of selectors. However, it was Walker's incredible performance that took the rugby league world by storm, with legendary former Maroons captain Smith saying he was "by a clear margin the best player on the field".

League world in awe of Cody Walker masterclass

"He is just one of these players that seems to have so much time with ball in hand no matter whether there's rushing defence coming at him or defence backing away from him," Smith added.

"I saw Cody Walker develop those skills when he was at the Melbourne Storm in his early days. There's three or four variations (of plays) in the back of Cody's mind when he knows he is going to receive the football. In an instant he comes up with the right play.

Seen here, Cody Walker in State of Origin Game III.
Cody Walker marked his State of Origin return with a man-of-the-match performance in Game III. Pic: Getty

"There was some wonderful work on the inside to give him time and space but what he did do was unlock every man outside of him. "(Winger) Josh Addo-Carr found open space which he hasn't been able to find all series and I thought he brought (fullback) James Tedesco into the game as well."

The Blues got their starting team spot on, with Rabbitohs trio Damien Cook, Cameron Murray and Keaon Koloamatangi all magnificent. Indeed, that Rabbitohs connection with Walker running the show, helped the Blues play by far their most fluid footy of the series. Gould said it was one of two major factors in the NSW win.

"One was the South Sydney connection with Damien Cook at dummy-half, Cameron Murray (lock) and obviously Cody Walker," Gould said. "The NSW defence improved out of sight. Their defence was troubled in the first two games (of the series)... but tonight they scrambled a lot better as a group rather than just individually."

Josh Addo-Carr scores outrageous Origin try

Walker's craft on the left and the quick hands of Best led to Josh Addo-Carr crossing for a memorable Origin try that is sure to be replayed over and again. 'The Foxx' flew into open space down the left wing before chipping over the Maroons' defence and regathering in scenes reminiscent of Queensland coach Billy Slater's famous Origin try.

While the Blues' win helped them save face and the embarrassment of a first series sweep since 2010, it's unlikely to stop the speculation around Brad Fittler's future as NSW coach. Fittler was an immediate success when he took charge of the Blues in 2018, but his series record now reads 3-3 and questions have been raised over his off-beat selections and the use of his bench.

The Blues coach would have triggered a year-long extension with a series win but he will now have to prove to the NSWRL hierarchy that he deserves a chance to make amends. "At the end of the day, it (Wednesday's result) may have had a bearing on what the board may think because they'll decide who is going to be the coach going forward," Fittler said.

"I'm gathering they'll speak to me about how I feel and if I've got the energy and if I want to do it, so them playing well ... the consequences of getting beaten by 30 would have been different."

with agencies

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