Dylan Walker admits he’s sick and tired of the bagging he copped after game one and is out to prove his critics wrong when he starts in State of Origin II.
Walker has been rushed into the run-on side for Wednesday’s must-win encounter at Suncorp Stadium after Josh Morris dramatically withdrew himself from the game due to a groin injury.
The team will go through their final training run on Sunday in Coffs Harbour before heading into enemy territory.
Jack Bird will debut off the bench in a move widely praised by NSW fans, however Walker says he’s driven by the chorus of calls for him to be dropped following his nine-minute cameo in game one.
“A lot of people pointed the finger really easily. I thought it was a running joke but I’m going out there to prove to myself (that I can play) and I want to do the best for the boys,” Walker said.
The Manly star admitted being angered by the “running joke” over his debut game in Sydney.
“I’m sick and tired of everyone coming up and saying this and that,” he said.
“I just want enjoy playing footy and do what I do best. The critics can say whatever they want but at the end of the day it’s all about me and putting the team first.”
Walker’s selection means NSW will arrive in Brisbane on Sunday afternoon armed with arguably their most potent State of Origin backline in years.
Alongside Michael Jennings, the Blues now boast two of the most dynamic centres in the NRL and could now own the impetus to kickstart their flailing attack.
The Blues have averaged just under 11 points a game under coach Laurie Daley.
“I’m going to try and get (the ball) as much as I can, but I’m trying to keep tight-lipped on that one. Back at right centre, I’ve played a couple of games there this year,” Walker said.
“I’ve just got to play my natural game.”
Walker will now have the enormous task of shutting down Queensland weapon Greg Inglis, however he believes his close relationship with his former teammate will work to his advantage.
“Big GI, he’s been a great player for so long and coming up against him, I might have a little bit of an advantage from knowing him personally, growing up watching him and training with him,” he said.
“Just don’t get a big right-hand fend into your chest. Someone like him, you’ve just got to really do your best and your defence has to be right up there.”