True Blue Andrew Johns has floated the prospect of using in-form South Sydney five-eighth Cody Walker as a bench utility for the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues in Holden State of Origin.
Walker has been in outstanding touch for the Rabbitohs in 2019 and is currently sitting in second spot behind Melbourne No.6 Cameron Munster on the Dally M leaderboard.
He is the leading tryscorer (9) in the NRL and is also amongst the contenders for try assists (7) and linebreak assists (6).
Walker is one of the players alongside Rabbitohs teammate Adam Reynolds, Sydney Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary and Newcastle’s Mitchell Pearce who is applying pressure to incumbents Nathan Cleary and James Maloney.
Johns suggested he could also make an impact off the bench because of his natural instincts and sense of anticipation on the field.
“Cody Walker could be that jersey 14 that you just throw him on and go, ‘Hey you go and play’,” Johns told 100% Origin for Wide Wide World of Sports.
“We spoke about it the other night, the ball bounces for him. A lot of the indigenous players have this instinct or skill, I don’t know what it is … the ball bounces to Cody Walker for some reason.
“It happens all the time, he’s one of those players. You used to see it in the past, David Peachey was one, the ball would just bounce into his hands.
“You could play him in the middle, play him as lock. You know what it was like in Origin with 20 minutes to go, everyone was out on the feet and they don’t penalise so it’s kick-reception footy.
“You put him as second fullback, you put him in dummy-half and let him run from dummy-half, you let him feed off offloads.”
Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler, who was also on the 100% Origin panel, said it was a tactic that Queensland had used in the past in bringing players through including Cooper Cronk, Daly Cherry-Evans and Kalyn Ponga.