Cody Walker back on the no-booze wagon
Cody Walker has given up alcohol for a second time in a bid to return to the form that made him NSW's State of Origin five-eighth last year.
Walker returns to South Sydney colours in Saturday night's Charity Shield against St George Illawarra fully fit after off-season shoulder surgery.
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But he comes back determined for a more consistent year than in 2019. The NRL's form player for the opening months, Walker bolted into a NSW jersey on the back of 11 tries and 11 assists in the first 10 rounds.
But from there the points dried up, as Walker was dropped after his debut game for the Blues and Souths' form dipped before a late-season resurgence.
Walker was off the drink for the whole first half of the year before picking it back up during the representative period.
And he's now made a commitment to stay off it again after three dry months.
"I have to recapture that form ... and I've made some choices throughout my life that will impact on it," Walker told AAP.
"Last year I was off the piss from the start of the season until I made Origin. And then went through the Origin period and ended up getting back on it.
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"I'm not using that as an excuse.
"But I've made a decision at the back end of November that I am going to be off the piss for as long as I can now.
"It's a big part of the reason why I think I was playing my best footy (last year). I will see where it can take me this year."
The 2020 season shapes as a big year in Walker's career.
At age 30, he is now part of the Rabbitohs' leadership group alongside Damien Cook and captain Adam Reynolds.
The trio help form one of the game's best spines and with Latrell Mitchell at fullback, Walker is tipped to be the biggest beneficiary on the left edge in attack.
Mitchell will often lurk on that side as a threat, giving Walker the option to pass to one of the game's most dangerous players or take advantage of defenders having one eye on the fullback.
Cameron Murray will also move to the left edge, shoring up their defence and providing one of the fastest play-the-balls for Walker to work off.
All of which could help Walker's claim to win back the NSW jersey he lost last year.
"There is no doubt I would love to be back in that arena," he said.
"But me talking about it is not going to do anything. I want to let my footy do the talking.
"That's what I am going to do. Train my arse off and see what happens."