The game he was never going to miss

Last night's win meant more to Cody Walker than another two points. His 53rd first grade appearance was different to the 52 that had come before it. As he graced the surface of McDonald Jones Stadium there was something different about Cody Walker.

A sense of commemoration, feeling and focus. If you looked closely at his a left wrist you would have seen the four words; Mum, Nel (his partner), Kian and Kade (his sons). These names were on show for all to see once Walker carried two defenders over the line in the 5th minute to score an emotional four pointer.

As he rose to his feet to celebrate you could see what it meant to him as he pointed to the names etched around his arm. His performance and those points were dedicated directly to the his late mother, Linda (affectionally known as Lou) who sadly passed away on Wednesday night.

"It's obviously hard to put into words the type of emotion that went through the week," said Walker.

"The try was a very special moment for myself, and for Mum. I just wanted no-one to go out there and do something extra special. I just wanted people to go out there and do their job and I think all 17 done that."

With a strong will, determination and a heavy heart, Walker was determined to play no matter what.

"There was no way I was missing that game. My mum wouldn't have wanted me to miss any game. She definitely would have been watching somewhere."

As the siren sounded, the final whistle blown and the routine handshakes came to a close, Walker made his way to the southern end of the ground where he embraced his family in what was a moving display of pure emotion. A mirror of empathy, compassion, and affection. These are the people that he credits most, along with the South Sydney Rabbitohs players and loyal supporters turned support group.

"The only way I can put it is it's a rollercoaster of emotion. All I can do is credit my family, my three older brothers and my dad, my partner, my kids and my extended family. Not only that family but my Rabbitohs family as well. They've been outstanding over the last couple of days."

Those player's respects were also on show last night, with black arm bands worn in commemoration and the focus on getting the job done for Cody. Halves partner and close friend Adam Reynolds was one player who helped the team achieve this, singing his praises post-match.

"It's inspirational. For him to come and play today under such circumstances, you can't credit him enough. He's a crucial part of this team and I love playing alongside him." Said Reynolds.

"We've become pretty close over the years. He's a great fella and he just showed what he's all about tonight."

On behalf of the South Sydney Rabbitohs and all of us involved with the club, our wishes, thoughts and prayers are with the Walker family during this time. 

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