Our Members got this story first. Want to be among the first to get more content like this? Stand Above the Rest and Become a 2014 Member Today, by clicking here.
While Greg Inglis readies himself to line up for yet another representative start this Friday against the Kiwis, for others like centre Dylan Walker, his representative journey is only just beginning.
Walker will line up alongside Rabbitohs teammate Adam Reynolds in his very first representative match in the top grade in Dubbo on Sunday when City play Country in the annual City v Country clash.
For the man that brought him into first-grade, Rabbitohs Head Coach Michael Maguire, Walker’s selection is a just reward for a player who is putting in the hard yards.
“I certainly thought it would happen for him at some stage,” admitted Maguire.
“Dylan has worked really, really hard in the pre-season – along with all the boys of course – and he gave himself the best opportunity with his hard work to become a representative player.”
The Souths Junior only made his first-grade debut in round 10 of the 2013 season, and incredibly, is still eligible to play in the Rabbitohs’ under 20’s NYC side. But that hasn’t stopped the Mascot Jets product from cementing his spot in the Rabbitohs’ top squad.
After a brief stint at five-eighth to begin 2014 – an experiment that proved he could play in the number six jumper – Walker returned to his favoured centre position, bolstering the Rabbitohs’ defence out-wide while also causing opposition defences a wealth of problems with his explosive and powerful running game.
For Maguire, Walker’s involvement in the City camp will only serve to improve the youngster as a player.
“All players have the ability to step up to that next level. For Dylan it’s satisfying because he’s done it at such a young age, so who knows where he could progress to,” said Madge.
“He’s looking at his game and how to improve that and I think being part of this week will benefit him greatly and help him along. He’s got a big future if he continues to work as hard as he’s doing right now.
“The experience that players gain – by seeing others prepare and going about their business – they’re all things that certainly add perspective and learning to all players involved in these rep teams.
“I think you get bits of confidence and a bit more belief about yourself and your game, and it really challenges you to see how you can use your skills with other players as well.
“Rep players tend to come back with a bit of confidence knowing that they stack up with other quality players.”
But the experience won’t just benefit the young Walker according to Maguire. Rabbitohs half Reynolds is set to reprise his role in the City number seven jumper for a second year after impressing with his first outing in the blue and gold in 2013.
“It’s great to see that Adam Reynolds gets his opportunity again,” said Madge.
“I think it’s really good for him to go out, observe and see how other players are doing things. But just for himself too, it’s experience and the more experience you get as a player, the better you become.
“I’m pleased that the players are getting a few rewards off the back of what they’ve been doing.”
Capital Training Institute is the Rabbitohs Membership Partner. Visit the CTI website by clicking here.