Walker backed to replicate form for Blues

Pamela Whaley
·2-min read

South Sydney hooker Damien Cook is adamant Cody Walker's stunning end-of-season form will translate onto the State of Origin stage to save the series for NSW on Wednesday night.

Walker was arguably the form player of the NRL competition at the end of the season as he helped lead the Rabbitohs on a pointscoring blitz.

Souths racked up 144 points in three weeks leading into the preliminary finals with Walker scoring three tries and four try-assists over the same period.

According to Cook, it was Walker's partnership with game manager Adam Reynolds that brought out the best in him - a role that will be emulated by Nathan Cleary.

"I'd like to give him all the credit but Renno was a big part of that too," Cook told AAP.

"When the forwards are playing really well, I think the way Renno got his work done allowed Cody to play numbers and allowed Cody to be running at a defensive line and retreating.

"That's when his individual brilliance comes through, when he's playing eyes up footy.

"Those two together they were very in form and a massive influence over how we went at the end of the season."

Cleary and five-eighth Luke Keary were both heavily criticised for their lack of creativity in NSW's 18-14 loss to Queensland in Adelaide.

As a result Keary was dropped as the Blues look to level the series in Wednesday night's must-win in Sydney.

But Cook believes the new halves combination will work more traditionally as it did for South Sydney this year.

"Nath does play on the ball in the middle of the field a lot more and Cody will be able to swing," Cook said.

"I'm sure he'll find himself on both sides of the field.

"Whether that's taking short side or out the back off Nath as well.

"They'll be linking up a fair bit, that's what Renno did for Cody and I'm sure that's what Nath will do for him."