Walker won't lose spark without Reynolds

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Walker won't lose spark without Reynolds

Cody Walker is adamant his livewire approach won't be dimmed by Adam Reynolds' departure, insisting he can still play the same way for South Sydney in 2022.

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Despite Jason Demetriou taking over from Wayne Bennett and Reynolds leaving for Brisbane, the Rabbitohs' NRL off-season mantra has been they don't need to reinvent the wheel.

Walker maintaining his style of play and the freedom to pop up on both sides of the ruck is crucial to that.

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Although the five-eighth believes he will now only have his hands on the ball more with a rookie as his halves partner.

Lachlan Ilias, set to return to full training next month after minor back surgery, is the man expected to claim the No.7 jersey in round one against the Broncos.

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Walker and Ilias have spent little time training together in the past, with the former due back alongside senior players next Friday for a three-day camp.

It is likely he will need to take on more responsibility next year, but won't let that limit his game.

“I don't think my role changes in the way I play the game,” Walker told AAP as Souths announced MG on a five-year major sponsorship deal.

“It's just building a combination with Lachy, so that he understands my game as well.

“I'm probably going to talk a bit more, but in terms of the way I play I don't think it changes too much.”

Walker has no doubt Ilias is ready to step up to the NRL, after watching him debut in the final round of 2021 off just two reserve grade matches all year.

Ilias scored a try off his own boot and set up another against St George Illawarra, helping lead Souths to a 20-16 win.

“I was quite impressed with the way he played that game, not having played all year,” Walker said.

“You can understand what's going through this young guy's head to perform the way he did, it's quite a good thing.”

Meanwhile, Walker said he was never tempted into testing his value on the open market, after signing a one-year extension to the end of 2023 earlier in the off-season.

The 31-year-old would likely have been a priority target for the likes of the Dolphins for 2023, but said the grand final loss to Penrith had left him only more hungry for success at Souths.

“I didn't bother (looking around),” Walker said.

“Nothing really interested me in terms of wanting to play for another club.

“When you lose a grand final like that it ignites a little fire in your belly to go one better next year.

“We have said it every year when we lose a prelim we want to go one step further.

“You multiply that by 100 now because losing a grand final is heartbreaking.”

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