South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett believes it's the depth and balance of his NRL squad that's allowing five-eighth Cody Walker to shine for the Rabbitohs in 2021.
The 31-year-old picked up three more try assists in Saturday's 36-6 thrashing of Gold Coast at CBUS Super Stadium as Souths secured their 10th consecutive win.
Walker now has 34 try assists this season, just six off Tim Smith's mark of 40 for Parramatta in 2005.
The playmaker's electric form, along with that of halves partner Adam Reynolds and fullback Latrell Mitchell, has the Rabbitohs firmly in the premiership discussion along with Melbourne and Penrith.
Bennett says the focus on Walker's end product is overlooking just how much his teammates are enabling him to be a dominant attacking force.
“We just talk about one guy but there's a whole series of people out there that are making his job a lot easier,” Bennett said.
“The influence Damien Cook has and making sure he's getting the ball where he wants it.
“The influence Adam Reynolds has … again he's in a position that's going to take a lot of pressure off Cody, which he does.
“Then there's a lot of other players out there that are running good lines, good leads, giving us good shape. Cody just does what he does then, makes it easy for him.”
Souths can overtake Penrith into second with a win over the Panthers next weekend as they look to at least go one better in Bennett's final season at Redfern following back-to-back preliminary final exits in his past two campaigns.
Bar the absence of retired duo Sam Burgess and John Sutton, Bennett believes he has the best-balanced squad he's ever had at Souths and – crucially – is largely injury-free.
“We'll get five players back next week. We're three weeks away now from the start of the finals,” he said.
“The last two years we've had to make up players and put them in positions and struggle to get to the end of the season.
“Right now, we're in pretty good shape. We're doing everything right at the moment.”Internet Explorer Channel Network