Walker may have to choose between money and Redfern. Photo: Brett Costello
Walker may have to choose between money and Redfern. Photo: Brett Costello

Walker’s demands too much for Souths

Former NSW five-eighth Cody Walker may be forced out of Redfern with his asking price considerably higher than what South Sydney are prepared to pay.

Walker's management team believe their client is worth between $850,000 and $900,000 a year - that's around $200,000 to $250,000 more than the Rabbitohs plan to offer him.

The Daily Telegraph has been told Souths players and management respect Walker - they claim he is "immensely popular" - and want him to stay.

But the club has a set price in mind - around $650,000 a season - and won't budge too far from that figure.

 

Walker may have to choose between money and Redfern. Photo: AAP Image/Lukas Coch
Walker may have to choose between money and Redfern. Photo: AAP Image/Lukas Coch

 

No official offer has yet been lodged by Souths with Walker not off contract until the end of next season.

It is understood Souths and Walker's manager, Matt Rose, have opened preliminary discussions.

While being respectful to Walker, the Rabbitohs have made it clear the club will not pay $850,000 to $900,000 a season for the PM XIII and Country five-eighth.

The $200,000 to $250,000 a-year gap between Walker's asking price and Souths offer may be difficult to overcome in negotiations.

Souths would look to play gun utility Adam Doueihi at five-eighth should Walker leave. Doueihi transformed into a super fullback throughout last season.

 

The star five-eighth could be Wayne Bennett’s new captain. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins
The star five-eighth could be Wayne Bennett’s new captain. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

 

Gold Coast continues to be linked with Walker but neither Rose nor the Titans have confirmed any official contact.

Walker was South Sydney's stand-in captain last season when Sam Burgess was unavailable. With Burgess and John Sutton now retired, Walker would be a strong option to lead Souths in 2020.

With the NRL's November 1 deadline having now passed, clubs can make formal offers to players who come off contract after next season.

Walker has a strong start and finish to the 2019 season but his confidence appeared to fall when dropped from the NSW side after Origin I.

 

Walker’s experience would be invaluable for Souths now. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Walker’s experience would be invaluable for Souths now. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

 

If Walker can secure the contract he wants, Souths would reluctantly allow him to walk way. Should Walker sign a big money deal elsewhere for 2021, there could be a push for the player to leave immediately.

Walker turns 30 in January with this expected to be his final contract in the NRL.

On October 14, The Daily Telegraph reported that Walker was hoping for "a rich three-year contract extension at South Sydney worth $2.55 million."

The story also stated that two rival clubs would be prepared to pay as much as $900,000 a season to lure the star from Souths.

In the report, Rose said: "We are working with Souths about Cody extending (his contract). It's a club where Cody loves playing and loves playing under Wayne Bennett. He is comfortable at the club.

"You could say we are working together on a deal that both parties are comfortable with. He would like to finish his career at the club but we still have to work through some things.

"Cody is desperate to win a premiership but things can change. You know what things are like in this world."

Souths remain in a recruitment and retention holding pattern until the NRL determine whether the retirement of Burgess can be shifted from the club's salary cap. The Rabbitohs' application has been lodged.