True Blue Steve Roach believes Cody Walker has jumped ahead of Luke Keary as the frontrunner for the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues no.6 jumper following his blistering form in the backend of the NRL season.
Walker has spearheaded a late-season surge for the Rabbitohs after helping them to a 60-8 thumping of the Sydney Roosters in Round 20 and a 46-20 win over Newcastle in week one of the finals.
Keary has been earmarked by fans as the man to replace James Maloney after his departure to the Super League but Roach has declared Walker is now winning the race to fill the void at five-eighth.
“It depends how deep the Roosters can go (in the finals), but if you’re asking me right now who I would have at five-eighth, I would probably pick him,” Roach said on Behind Blue Eyes.
“We’re lacking a couple of centres so I would put Jack Wighton there, and Keary will definitely be in the squad, but it depends how far they go.
“If I was picking right now, on form in the last month, I’d probably have him in the side.”
In 19 appearances in 2020, Walker has recorded 10 tries, 19 try-assists, 15 line-breaks and 15 line-break assists to cement himself as one of the form players of the competition.
He has arguably been in career best form across the last two seasons under the guidance of newly-appointed Maroons coach, Wayne Bennett.
Roach lauded Bennett’s ability to get the best out of his players and admits the form of South Sydney sends an ominous warning to NSW ahead of the upcoming Origin series.
“I would love to play under Wayne Bennett…he has got this uncanny knack where everyone who plays under him just loves him,” he said.
“I reckon if you ask them during their career, (they would agree) that he can make something out of nothing.
“Look at (Tevita) Tatola last week, how long since a front-rower scored two tries in a semi-final?
“He has this magic touch that he can make you better than what you really are.”
South Sydney will look to book a place in the Preliminary Final when they face the Eels in a sudden death semi-final at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday.