In-form Rabbitohs star Cody Walker says State of Origin is the last thing on his mind after Brad Fittler suggested he was likely to get the nod over Luke Keary for the opening game of the series.
Arguably the most potent player in the Telstra Premiership leading into the preliminary finals, Walker respectfully hosed down his Origin hopes on Wednesday afternoon leading into his side's crucial clash with Penrith.
Fittler declared Walker "deserved" a spot in his 17 for Origin I during an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald after a stellar month of form and with the vacant No.6 jersey worn by James Maloney in game three last year up for grabs.
Walker's combination with Damien Cook and Adam Reynolds has been firing on all cylinders leading into a halves battle with Blues candidate Nathan Cleary and Samoan playmaker Jarome Luai.
"To be honest and this is no disrespect to Brad Fittler and the Blues, I'm sure they'll understand where I'm coming from, but Origin is the last thing on my mind," Walker said.
Match: Panthers v Rabbitohs
Finals Week 3 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
"I'm very focused and all my energy is going into this weekend. My goal is to win a premiership and the first step is this weekend against the minor premiers who have been the best team all year.
"I suppose in a way you could say [Origin] hasn't been a distraction throughout the year but I haven't given it much thought.
"That sort of stuff can look after itself when the season is done. I really want to win the comp."
Moments that matter - Brad Fittler
Walker spent time with Cleary when his former NSW halves partner was his roommate leading into Origin I at Suncorp Stadium last year.
He said Cleary's movement around the paddock was a key indicator of where the ball was going to travel for the Panthers on Saturday night.
"I only played one game with him so don't know his game inside out but he's a great player and has had a fantastic year," Walker said.
"He's got a great kicking game and is all about energy. He's a great defender and has been a great leader in their side.
"He's playing on the ball more than he has in previous years."
Reynolds, who played two Origin games for the Blues in 2016, said Walker was worthy of a representative recall.
Then there were four …
"Hopefully his form over the next two games is better, we don't want the form to end now," Reynolds said.
"We're grateful to have him in this team and we'll use him up as much as possible here first.
"It's our job as a team to get him as much clean ball as possible and that means holding the ball, building pressure and we have to do that through our defence and our kicking game."