South Sydney has never been short of an inspirational on-field story and Sunday’s victory over the Wests Tigers only strengthened that sentiment thanks to Dylan Walker.
From Clive Churchill and John Sattler, to Sam Burgess and John Sutton, there’s been no shortage of self-sacrifice within the ranks of the men who have worn the red and green.
After fracturing his hand during the first half, Walker added another chapter to that inspirational story by helping his side to victory with two tries despite playing with just one useful hand.
Walker’s wingman, Joel Reddy, provided verbal support to the Souths Junior throughout the match. Having seen the likes of Sam Burgess play with a broken cheek-bone and eye-socket, while most recently playing alongside John Sutton last week when he played with a partially fractured jaw, the courage displayed by his teammates in his opinion is unsurpassed.
“It’s the best I’ve seen here,” said Reddy.
“Blokes just get on with the job and just worry about things after the game, and that’s what Dylan did. You could see here and there that he looked like he was struggling a bit, but he just let it go and he just got on with the game.
“The two tries he scored were inspirational – he put himself in the right position and to get the ball down with one hand that wasn’t working so good, it was even better.”
According to Reddy, that brand of courage and resilience has been brewing within the current crop of Rabbitohs for some time – the winger pointing to last year’s round 13 clash against the Warriors at nib Stadium as a prime example of a team under an injury cloud coming away with victory. Walker sustained a similar injury during that match and played on.
“It’s been around here for a while,” said Reddy of the Rabbitohs grit.
“There was a game last year with the Warriors where there was a few of us injured. That’s football – we’ve been playing it ever since we were little kids and you don’t want to come off the field whether you’re injured or not. You just deal with it after and I think that’s the mentality here.
“I think everyone just knows that all you have to do is your own job, and if someone is hurt you know that they’re still going to do their job,” said Reddy.
“I think just knowing that across the whole 17 of us is good enough for me to say ‘that’s all I’ve got to do – I’ve got to do my job well and I know everyone else is going to do it’ and that’s how we go out there, and that’s how we try and play every week.
“Chaos is going to happen during a game and we’ve just got to be prepared that whatever happens – if someone gets injured or if someone drops a ball – we’ve just got to let it go and focus on the next job.”