Walker knows better than to give up on Origin recall
Throughout a life and NRL career spent defying the odds, Cody Walker has learned better than to give up hope of a fairytale State of Origin recall.
But the South Sydney five-eighth insists a fifth NSW cap is not on his mind as the days tick down to Brad Fittler's squad announcement for the series opener.
Walker, 33, is the outsider in a three-horse race against Penrith's Jarome Luai and Cronulla captain Nicho Hynes, both of whom have designs on clinching the NSW five-eighth spot for the best-of-three series that begins on May 31.
Luai's man-of-the-match performance against the Sydney Roosters last week catapulted him into five-eighth favouritism, his incumbency and long-standing chemistry with Blues halfback Nathan Cleary also playing into his hand.
Hynes has been tipped as a chance for selection on the bench, having first established himself in the NRL as Melbourne's "Mr Fix-It" from the interchange.
Walker is therefore a good chance to miss out when Fittler names his team after round 12, despite a strong patch of form coinciding with the ladder-leading Rabbitohs' six-game winning streak.
"I haven't had much thought about (Origin selection), to be fair,' he said.
"I try to stay out of the papers as you know, I don't necessarily like to put my face out there.
"I've grown up watching (Origin) on TV and doing all those sort of things, so if it got to a point where I got the call, I'm happy to put my hand up.
"But I think it's hard to ignore the form of a guy like Nicho Hynes, and Jarome had a fantastic game on the weekend. It's hard to ignore that club combination (with Cleary). I get it."
But Walker is accustomed to underdog status, having spent four years on a development contract with Gold Coast and switching clubs three times before making his NRL debut in 2016.
Now one of the league's craftiest playmakers and an Origin player between 2019 and 2020, Walker will never write himself off.
"If you look at my story, you never really give up hope in any situation, do you?" he said.
"I debuted late at 26. Who would've thought at that age that I would have played four Origins and done all the things I've done? I never even think about giving up on anything.
"That's probably been the highlight of my journey, is that I've never given up. I've always had that belief and that resilience in me to just keep plugging along."
Walker and his Rabbitohs are preparing to face Parramatta on Friday night for Indigenous Round, which the five-eighth declared a fitting time to reflect on his journey against the odds.
"It's amazing that it's Indigenous Round because you draw inspiration from what our people have gone through over the last couple of hundred years," he said.
"It's ingrained in me that you don't give up, you show resilience, you show strength. I've been taught that from a very young age."