Rookie named captain of Indigenous All Stars
Nine years ago Cody Walker bought an Indigenous All Stars jersey for his partner. He wanted to show how proud he was of his Aboriginal heritage.
On Friday night at AAMI Park, he leads the Indigenous team onto the field as captain.
The 29-year-old All Stars debutant was named captain of the team by coach Laurie Daley in front of the playing group on Wednesday night.
Earlier that day, he had spoken of his emotion at being able to represent his culture on the big stage.
"It's a pretty surreal moment. I've watched every one since it's been on," Walker told media.
"Just the sense of pride you get and the excitement when you see the boys run out, you get goosebumps and you just want to be out there playing.
"To be able to do it is so surreal, I can't wait to be a part of it."
Walker supported the inaugural All Stars game, the brainchild of legend Preston Campbell, in 2010.
He wanted his partner to understand how proud he was to be involved in a sport which recognises and celebrates his culture.
"I still remember I bought the jersey for my partner, and I'm actually playing in it this year so it's pretty surreal," he said.
"It's a real honour and privilege playing a game like this."
Walker was a late bloomer in rugby league terms.
He didn't make his NRL debut until he was 26 years old, and since then he's been switched between fullback and the halves at South Sydney.
He was voted in to the Indigenous team as one of a handful of debutants, and will now captain the side against the Maori on Friday night.
There hasn't been any confirmation on which player will lead the Indigenous war cry before the game.
But foxsports.com.au understands it will be young gun Latrell Mitchell who steps in to fill the role of Greg Inglis.