Former Kinross first XV skipper Cody Walker’s focus shifts back to trying to work his way up NSW’s front-row pecking order after making a strong impression in the Waratahs’ Brisbane Global Rugby Tens campaign last weekend.
Walker, Calare Public School graduate Ryan McCauley and Cowra’s Harry Johnson-Holmes all turned out for the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium, and helped NSW qualify for the finals although it was bundled out by the Wellington Hurricanes in the quarter-finals (35-24).
That came a week after the Hurricanes thumped the Waratahs 55-29 in the two sides’ opening trial at Queenstown. Walker didn’t feature in that game and hasn’t been named for NSW’s final lead-up clash against Melbourne on Friday.
But he knew when he signed it wasn’t going to be easy, and he says he’s been enjoying the slog at pre-season training so far.
"The vibe around the group has been great, everyone is just keen to get together and show what we can do as a unit,” he said.
"Everyone has been really willing to get in there and support the younger guys. Even the guys who haven't been around for that many years have bloody stuck their heads out and given us a helping hand.
"It is just like a bigger version of the local rugby club in a country town. We are a tight group and we look after one another.”
Johnson-Holmes and McCauley have both been named on the Waratahs’ bench for Friday’s trial against the Rebels, Dubbo’s Tom Robertson will start at loosehead prop and Coonamble’s Ned Hanigan – despite picking up a knee injury against the Hurricanes – has been named to run from the bench.