Walker's 150 at Souths a lesson in timing

·2-min read

Cody Walker isn't kidding himself when he believes he could have been a one-game wonder in the NRL if things had gone to plan as a teenager.

The South Sydney superstar will play his 150th NRL game on Friday night when South face Manly, doing so with something close to veteran status at age 32.

Game 150 is often the forgotten milestone.

Reaching 100 is close to the dream for any young NRL aspirant, while playing in 200, 250 or 300 are rarer feats.

But for Walker, he has every right to make it feel as significant as other's do at the illustrious 300-mark.

He will do so firmly with his late mother Lou in mind, still kissing his wrists every time he scores in her honour.

A talented youngster who was forced to wait until age 26 to make his NRL debut, Walker later became NSW's oldest first-timer in State of Origin at 29.

But the five-eighth is well aware that if he was given his chance at a younger age he would not have been mentally ready and would likely have been spat out by the sport.

"If I played at 18 or 19 I probably would've played one or two games and been out the door," Walker said.

"That's the reality of my life at that time.

"Where I was in my career, I was quite selfish at a young age. I took things for granted.

"It took me a little while to get where I wanted to be. Probably because of my reputation at that age."

Walker is talking about is his life at age 21, when he was unable to progress out of the Gold Coast or Penrith junior systems.

A time when he lived off Centrelink, was without a car, job or licence and found out he was going to be father to his first son Kian.

"I had to turn things around, I had no other choice," Walker said.

"And I did it because I had a son that had to depend on me. That's the reality of it."

Walker finally got his next chance in the Melbourne feeder system, had his debut denied by injury and ultimately landed in his rightful home at Souths.

"I look back on my career and what it has taken me to get to that point," Walker said.

"The years of struggle have built up a fair bit of character and resilience in me.

"I didn't want to give up on anything and it's led me to this point, and will lead me through the rest of my life.

"Life could have been the total opposite, I could have down a different path to what I did go down.

"But I am certainly proud of what I have achieved."

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