Phil Rothfield believes the lack of Wayne Bennett is hurting Cody Walker greater than the lack of his outdated halves associate Adam Reynolds.
Walker has fallen nicely in need of expectations this season after ending 2021 because the Five-eighth of the Year and in competition for the Dally M medal.
He led the competitors in strive assists and linebreak assists on the finish of final season, however at this stage sits twenty fourth and thirteenth respectively.
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While many will put it all the way down to the departure of Reynolds — top-of-the-line recreation managers — Rothfield believes it’s really the exit of Bennett.
Rothfield additionally fears that new coach Jason Demetriou will wrestle to get one of the best out of Walker.
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“This is a massive story, I think it’s one of the biggest in the game,” he informed Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast.
“In my view, he’s missing Wayne Bennett more than Adam Reynolds.
“He seems to be dreadfully out of sorts, he seems to be angry, you never seem to see him smile anymore, he’s very easily niggled on a football field.
“I feel for Jason Demetriou because he’s got a tough customer there in Cody Walker and I don’t know if he’s got the experience to know how to handle him.
“While I think technically he’s a very good NRL coach and he’ll prove that down the track, getting players like Cody Walker who is down in the dumps and doesn’t have Latrell out on the field — his great mate — to help out, I think it’s a real handful and all eyes will be on Cody Walker over the next month with that soft draw they’ve got.”
The Rabbitohs face the Warriors, Raiders and Tigers earlier than getting the bye. They then tackle the Titans in Round 14.
“On paper Souths should win all four games. They’ve lost five games out of nine, which isn’t good enough for that football side,” Rothfield mentioned.
“We talk about no Wayne Bennett, no Latrell Mitchell and no Adam Reynolds. What great players do in those situations is pick up the football side, pick up the leadership and give Cameron Murray more support leading that side around the field,” he mentioned.
“I think that’s where we’re entitled to be disappointed.
“I think it’s time he did step up. Forget about the fact that he doesn’t have those leaders, start this weekend and over the next month.
“Technically I think Jason Demetriou was coaching the side last year anyway and Wayne Bennett was more the man manager. They all fell in love with Wayne and they went out and played for Wayne.
“I really think losing the coach has caused more drama than losing Adam Reynolds.”
Rugby league nice Laurie Daley, who coached Walker within the Indigenous All Stars aspect, agreed that the Bunnies No.6 has been just a little “off” and pinpointed a second in final week’s loss that confirmed simply how “frustrated” he’s.
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“He looks to be frustrated to me when I watch him,” Daley mentioned.
“There was one instance on Thursday, they got a handover down near the line and he kicked the ball away and gave away a penalty.
“For me, that was a sign there that he was just frustrated. I don’t know what it is… but there’s no doubt they need Cody to play as well as he did over the last couple of years if they’re going to make finals.
“But at the moment he’s off his game.”