Souths' Walker puts contract talk on hold

·2-min read

Cody Walker won't follow South Sydney halves partner Lachlan Ilias in announcing his future plans before the NRL season finishes.

The Rabbitohs re-signed halfback Ilias on Tuesday but are still yet to secure the future of remaining spine players Walker, Latrell Mitchell and Damien Cook.

All three men are off contract at the end of 2023 and can negotiate with rivals from November 1 this year.

A late bloomer, Walker has played his entire first-grade career with the Rabbitohs but was previously linked with a move to the Dolphins, who enter the league under former Rabbitohs mentor Wayne Bennett from next season.

The five-eighth said he had no interest in organising his future until after the finals series, which begins for the Rabbitohs with an elimination final against the Sydney Roosters on Sunday.

"I'm not in a state at the moment to be worrying about that (contract) sort of stuff until there's no more footy games," Walker told reporters on Wednesday.

"My full focus and all of my energy is going into this weekend's game.

"We're in a spot this weekend where it's do or die and anything could happen. I'm not even thinking about (the long-term future)."

Walker heralded Cook's return from a bout of COVID-19 as a potential game-changer for the Rabbitohs, who are looking to flip the script on last week's loss to the Roosters.

The Rabbitohs' short turnaround between round 24 and 25 meant Cook missed the side's last two regular season games but the State of Origin hooker trained on Tuesday and will take the field at Allianz Stadium this weekend.

"We've obviously missed someone like Cookie over the last couple of weeks," Walker said.

"Not many people outside of the organisation appreciate what he does. He plays 80 minutes, makes close to 60 tackles a game.

"Teams defend differently when Cookie is at nine because of his speed."

The Rabbitohs are still unsure whether captain Cam Murray will return from the concussion he suffered in the opening minute of the Rabbitohs' round 25 loss.

Walker admitted losing their captain early had thrown the Rabbitohs.

"They came out of the gate firing and losing Camo was big for us in the first 30 seconds," he said.

"But those things happen in the game and you've got to be able to react."