Walker hits back at Roosters’ rivalry lie
SOUTH Sydney playmaker Cody Walker has demanded a rewrite for the The Book of Feuds' latest chapter, insisting he never called Roosters backrower Angus Crichton a "traitor".
On the eve of Friday night's NRL finals blockbuster at the SCG, Walker has revealed it was an unsavoury tackle by Crichton - rather than anything the Bunnies No.6 said - that really ignited the now highly publicised rivalry between himself and Roosters stars Luke Keary and Cooper Cronk.
Back in round one, all four players were involved in a fiery season opener, with Keary later labelling the South Sydney five-eighth "disrespectful".
Stream the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership on KAYO SPORTS. Every game of every round Live & On-Demand on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Get your 14 day free trial >
It has since been written, and taken for fact, that the fireworks started after Walker branded Crichton a traitor, a direct reference to the NSW Origin backrower switching to the reigning NRL premiers after three seasons at Souths.
"But I don't know where that came from," Walker said this week. "The word 'traitor', it's never even been in my vocabulary. I don't say it.
"So while I know a lot of people now think that's what was said, it's definitely not the case. I have no idea where that came from."
Crichton drew a blank when asked about the incident but he did have a warning for Walker. This time, he won't be backing down from any confrontation.
"Cody Walker can get a bit fiery but that's about it, there are no sledges really, no more than usual. I actually can't remember what happened there or what he said. But yeah mate, if I get the chance to go again this week we will be," Crichton said.
So as for Walker revealing what did ignite his showdown with Keary and co?
"Nah, I won't repeat what was said," Walker grins. "But it was more about a tackle.
"I sort of thought Gussy (Crichton) was giving it to me in a tackle, so I said 'don't do that, don't do that sort of stuff'.
"And it did cause a stir. But there was definitely no 'traitor' … I don't know where that's come from."
Despite Walker's ongoing rivalry with several Roosters players, tensions off the field are far more amicable.
In fact, the livewire five-eighth has even signed on as an ambassador for Crichton's new foundation, First People Project, while also proving a strong supporter of Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell and his publicised battles against racism.
Walker stressed that while the contests were always strong on field, off it he got on with his neighbours.
"I definitely support Latrell with standing up to racism," Walker said. "I've got his back no matter what when it comes to that. And Gussy, I'm also one of his foundation ambassadors.
"It's a great initiative, him coming out and doing that. And I'll support it 100 per cent. But on the field, yeah, it's a different story.
"This game, it's always a big occasion. We want to win, they want to win and sometimes it gets a bit heated."
While Keary was sidelined when the club's met last week, Walker said he didn't expect the playmaker's return to bring a different edge to their Friday night clash at the SCG.
The 29-year-old added that Souths would also not be looking to verbally target Mitchell, who was also involved in several confrontations during the round one clash.
"I think you've just got to try and shut Latrell down," Walker said. "And that's hard to do.
"It all comes back to where you hand over the ball, where you finish your sets, not giving them too much field position. That's where you try and stop him.
"And I say 'try' as the key word because he is so hard to handle.
"Keary also add a bit more class to their attack. So it's up to us, we can't let them inside our half with silly errors and penalties."
LISTEN! Matty Johns, Brett Finch and Paul Kent have a look at the first week of the finals, Ben Ikin's run-in with Sticky, why the Titans are such a mess and Russell Crowe's book of feuds.