Cody Walker has been sounded out by the Broncos. Picture: AAP
Cody Walker has been sounded out by the Broncos. Picture: AAP

Broncos chase Bunnies playmaker

BRISBANE have South Sydney sensation Cody Walker on their radar as the Broncos search for the playmaking formula to break the club's 13-year premiership drought.

The Broncos have expressed interest in Walker, the Rabbitohs five-eighth maestro who will look to continue his rampaging form against the Cowboys in Sunday's final Magic Round clash at Suncorp Stadium.

 

The Broncos are hoping Suncorp will be Walker's home on a permanent basis, with the club formulating plans to secure the playmaker they almost poached from Souths in 2016.

The Broncos are one of seven clubs to have contacted Walker's management.

The NSW Origin hopeful is contracted to Souths until the end of 2020, meaning he can begin formal discussions with rival clubs from November 1 this year.

Brisbane secured the services of former Cronulla hooker James Segeyaro on a cut-price deal on Friday, but the Broncos are looking at a long-term strategy to win titles and Walker has been identified as a key target.

The Broncos made preliminary inquiries a fortnight ago, before Walker's two-try haul which helped sink Brisbane 38-6 at Sydney's ANZ Stadium last Friday week.

Cody Walker celebrates one of his tries against the Broncos in Round 8. Picture: AAP Image/Brendon Thorne
Cody Walker celebrates one of his tries against the Broncos in Round 8. Picture: AAP Image/Brendon Thorne

While Walker is happy at Redfern, the 29-year-old is approaching the most important contract of his career and wants to explore all options before any decision to ink a fresh extension at South Sydney.

Walker's agent Matt Rose confirmed on Saturday a raft of NRL clubs are lining up to poach the in-form pivot.

"To get so many inquiries shows the level Cody has reached as a player and his growing stature in the game," Rose said.

"I've had a stack of clubs call me to express their interest in Cody and gauge what his intentions are.

"The clubs are asking if Cody plans to be at Souths long-term and their desire to have talks.

"There's nothing I can do right now so we will wait until November to have formal talks.

Cody Walker speaks to ex-Broncos coach and current Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett at training. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Cody Walker speaks to ex-Broncos coach and current Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett at training. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

"The challenge for Cody is to maintain his form. He is determined to have a huge year for Souths and he wants to win a premiership - that is his focus right now.

"Cody is contracted to Souths for another 18 months so they have time on their side to try to keep Cody.

"By November, we will know his market value and we'll see what happens."

Walker is currently on around $600,000 at Souths, but such is his blistering form, the 79-game NRL wizard could earn in excess of $900,000 annually on the open market.

The Broncos see promise in their current halves, 18-year-old Tom Dearden and $1 million five-eighth Anthony Milford, who is off-contract at the end of 2021.

Walker with George and Sam Burgess at training. Picture: Brett Costello
Walker with George and Sam Burgess at training. Picture: Brett Costello

But with Broncos skipper Darius Boyd turning 32 in July, the classy Walker would be a handy addition to Brisbane's playmaking spine.

The Broncos have a history with Walker. Three years ago, he was poised to ink a three-year deal with the Broncos after meeting with Wayne Bennett, only to change his mind at the last minute.

Ironically, Bennett is now at Souths and will fight tooth-and-nail to keep Walker.

"I was pretty close to going to the Broncos actually," Walker said.

Walker in action for Palm Beach Currumbin in 2008.
Walker in action for Palm Beach Currumbin in 2008.

"I remember going over to (former coach) Michael Maguire's house to say, 'Sorry mate, I'm taking up an offer from Brisbane'.

"But the next day Souths came back with a revised offer. They offered me an extra year and that gave me some security.

"I was a bit nervous meeting Wayne. He is such a powerful figure in our game, so it was quite daunting to sit down in front of him. But once we settled in, I found him to be a funny guy and he was easier to talk to than I thought.

"The first day he came to Souths, he had a joke with me. He said you wouldn't bloody come to Brisbane, so I had to sign with Souths to coach you.

"I'm just enjoying playing football at the moment. I'm signed here until 2020 and I'm leaving the rest to my manager. Right now, I'm happy at Souths."

Rose scoffed at suggestions Walker, a late-bloomer who made his NRL debut at 26, is reaching his twilight years.

"Cody turns 30 next year but he is the type of guy who can play another five years into his mid-30s like Cooper Cronk and Cam Smith," Rose said.

"Cody is still getting better as a player.

"Souths haven't spoken to me at this stage (about a new deal) but they have a lot going on with Greg Inglis' retirement and knowing exactly how much salary-cap space they have."

News Corp Australia


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