Walker praised for effort after mother's death
South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold has praised five-eighth Cody Walker, who played a leading role in the Rabbitohs' 36-18 win over Newcastle just two days after his mother passed away.
Walker scored the club's second try on an emotional night that resulted in one of the better South Sydney performances of the year.
"Obviously it was a tough last 48 hours for Cody, and his family," he said.
"We wore the black armbands as a sign of respect for his mum, and the rest of the family. It was a really brave effort as he did not get in until late last night, but we are really proud of him.
"It was his choice to play – I left it to him."
Team-mate Greg Inglis was just as proud of Walker's commitment to the team, and says he was able to pay tribute his mother.
"I had a chat to him last night, and he really wanted to play and do his mother proud," Inglis said.
"His mum is obviously smiling down on him at the moment. It's obviously a tough time for Cody, but tonight was a distraction for him for 80 minutes and now we will give him time off to concentrate on what's best for him and his extended family."
Seibold credited his side's attacking pressure against the Newcastle Knights, but it was the completion rate that impressed the coach.
"Certainly from an attacking point of view, I thought we were very sharp, completing 94 per cent and putting a lot of pressure on the Knights," Seibold said.
"But defensively, we need to improve – they scored four tries against us – that was disappointing."
Seibold was also worried about the ease with which Newcastle was able to run the ball on the last tackle.
One player who caused him the most headaches was Kayln Ponga, whose speed and ball handling was dangerous at times.
"He's a freak," Seibold said. "He's an outstanding player and really challenged us every time the Knights put a hole in us.
"He is really hard to defend because he puts himself in the attacking line so effectively.