Cody Walker speaks out on Latrell Mitchell amid big admission about Souths struggles

Mitchell returns from suspension against the Dragons in a must-win game for injury-hit Souths.

Stand-in Souths captain Cody Walker has made a big admission about his struggling side and the timely return of Latrell Mitchell, ahead of Saturday's must-win NRL showdown with the Dragons. Mitchell returns from a three-game suspension in a timely boost for the injury-ravaged Bunnies, who are looking to get off the bottom of the ladder without a host of regular first grade stars.

Halfback Dean Hawkins and livewire fullback Jye Gray will both miss around two months with injuries suffered in last week's 42-12 loss to the Panthers. Gray was the victim of an ugly hip-drop tackle by Panthers centre Izack Tago and will undergo surgery for an ankle injury sustained in the tackle. Hawkins hurt his right quadricep while kicking off and will miss around 10 weeks.

Pictured left to right, Souths' stand-in captain Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell.
Souths' stand-in captain Cody Walker is excited for Latrell Mitchell's NRL return. Pic: Getty

In a horror game for the Bunnies, captain Cameron Murray picked up a hip flexor injury that will also see him sidelined for around eight weeks. The raft of injuries has seen interim Souths coach Ben Hornby ring the changes, with young gun Dion Teaupa to partner Walker in the halves and Gehamat Shibasaki to earn a starting spot on the wing.

But the biggest inclusion for the Rabbitohs is the return of Mitchell, who will no doubt have a point to prove after missing his side's last three games through suspension. And Walker says the confidence he exudes is infectious for the rest of the squad. "He feeds a lot of people with confidence when he puts that jersey on when you look across from him in the sheds," Walker said on Wednesday.

"He's an elite player, he is world class - he just feeds everyone with confidence. "He's a massive in for us, he is a massive part of our squad and we just can't wait to get him out there and play some footy. We're looking forward to having him back. We're gonna be up against it (against the Dragons) and we know that, but looking forward to getting out there and playing some footy. "

Walker will take over the captaincy reins from Murray for Saturday's crunch clash against a Dragons side that will be desperate to bounce back from two straight defeats. The effort and fitness of the Rabbitohs has consistently come under question after heavy defeats this season and despite two big defeats in their previous matches, Walker insists it's an area they are fast improving in.

Seen here, Cody Walker at training for Souths.
Cody Walker is seen here at training for Souths. Pic: Getty

"When you're going through these sorts of periods, you have to fall back on your effort areas," the five-eighth said. "They are pretty basic - kick pressure, run hard, tackle hard - all the basics you learn at a pretty young age, we have to nail them. We have. I know it might not seem that way, but we are looking at vision that shows we are improving and we need to keep building on that."


Wayne Bennett remains favourite to make a return to Souths as head coach for next season after the recent sacking of Jason Demetriou. And Walker says while his feelings are clear on the master coach, the team's focus has to be on results this season. "It's no secret what I feel about Wayne and how much the club feel about him - but obviously that's not important at the moment," Walker said. "It's further down the track and I won't comment on something that's far away. We've got more important things to worry about."