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Cody Walker in huge Origin blow after shock Rabbitohs development

The news comes as a sad blow to the in-form star's hopes of playing Origin.

In the centre of the picture is Souths NRL star Cody Walker.
Cody Walker has been ruled out of Saturday's match against the Dragons in another blow for NRL high-flyers, South Sydney. Pic: Getty

Cody Walker's hopes of featuring for the Blues in Game II of the State of Origin series have taken a brutal hit, with the Rabbitohs star a late scratching from his side's round 15 match against the Dragons in the NRL. Walker suffered a quad injury during the warmup at South Sydney training on Friday morning and took no further part in the session.

Walker has been considered a serious chance to reunite with former Souths teammate Adam Reynolds in the halves for NSW, who were rocked by the injury to halfback Nathan Cleary this week that is set to rule the two-time premiership winner out for up to six weeks. It's the latest injury blow for Souths coach Jason Demetriou's side, who will go into the game against the Dragons without Latrell Mitchell and Cam Murray, who are also sidelined with injuries.

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Dean Hawkins is set to replace Walker in the halves against St George Illawarra on Saturday for what would have been his last chance to impress Blues coach Brad Fittler, before the NSW team for Game II is announced next week. Walker has been among the standout performers at No.6 in the NRL this season, and his combination with former teammate and Suncorp Stadium specialist Reynolds had many Blues fans tipping Fittler to give him the nod.

Demetriou said Walker's injury was not serious enough to rule him out of Origin contention just yet, with the coach insisting Rabbitohs pair Mitchell and Murray were also in the same boat. "(Walker) is every chance of being available," Demetriou said.

"It's an injury that's really short-term. It's only happened a couple of days before the game so we're not in a position to risk him but Origin's not for nearly two weeks. "For us, we know he'll be back for the game after the bye (in round 16), which is only a few days after Origin."

Demetriou said the Rabbitohs' onerous fixture had likely contributed to Walker's injury; Souths are one of only three sides yet to have a bye through 14 rounds. "The boys are creaking a little bit," the Souths coach said. "He's just an old man, just trying to stride out."

Rabbitohs duo also under Origin injury clouds

Superstar Rabbitohs fullback Mitchell missed the Origin series opener with a calf injury and is also racing the clock to be fit enough for NSW selection, while Blues forward and teammate Murray is also battling a groin injury he suffered against Gold Coast last week.

Pictured left to right, Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchell and Cam Murray.
Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchell and Cam Murray are all under injury clouds that could derail their State of Origin hopes. Pic: Getty

Both Mitchell and Murray will know before NSW teams are named on Tuesday morning whether they are fit enough to line up in Game II. "(Mitchell) is in a good place, physios are working overtime with him as well to give him every chance to be available," Demetriou said.

"If he's able to run, he'll be ready to go. I'd love to see him out there. It's one of those injuries where every couple of days makes a big difference, when you've got a low-grade. We'll see how he responds. Cam Murray is the same."

The availability of the Souths trio is among the numerous headaches for Fittler, as he weighs up changes for the Blues' do-or-die Origin Game II showdown at Suncorp Stadium. Arguably the toughest decision for Fittler is which half comes in for Cleary, with Reynolds, Nicho Hynes and Mitchell Moses all vying for selection.

Seen here, Broncos halfback Adam Reynolds.
Adam Reynolds has come into contention to replace Nathan Cleary as the Blues halfback. (Photo by Kerry Marshall/Getty Images)

Dolphins master coach Wayne Bennett said if it were up to him there's no way he would overlook the game management and experience that Reynolds offers, not to mention the Brisbane ace's affinity with the Suncorp Stadium 'cauldron'. "He's the best game manager in rugby league at the moment in my mind, Adam Reynolds, he brings his kicking game, he brings everything they want," Bennett said.

"You can talk about the other halfbacks but both of those boys (Nicho Hynes and Mitchell Moses) haven't played in Brisbane in State of Origin. It's not a place to go without your best players that can handle that as well, you've got to be able to handle the night, the moment, otherwise it's all over for them."

with AAP

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