Around the grounds and at Stadium Australia it’s Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell 26, Canterbury 16.
That is the humbling scoreline for the Bulldogs, who have been embarrassingly out-scored in the first three rounds by just two of their opponents on Good Friday, Souths.
The Bulldogs have just 16 points so far this year, whereas Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker have 26.Credit:Getty, NRL Photos
Walker and Mitchell have a great understanding on the field, which was clear last weekend when they teamed up for the Rabbitohs’ first try against the Roosters.
Walker spotted Luke Keary out of the defensive line, ordered Mitchell to go the short side out of dummy-half, only for the No. 1 to flick the ball back inside for Walker to score.
Together they have combined for five tries, three goals and a further seven try assists.
Canterbury coach Trent Barrett would have spent all week trying to work out how his side will score points – but also wondering how on earth they can stop Souths’ deadly fullback and five-eighth combination.
High-fiving each other during the Charity Shield.Credit:Getty
“It’s so hard to explain it,” Walker told the Herald when asked about his chemistry with Mitchell.
“We have this weird connection with one another. A lot of it comes back to the relationships you have off the field, we’re quite close and live around the corner from each other.
“It’s a feel. You see a lot of that stuff at the [Indigenous] knockouts … it’s just our ability to feel what’s about to happen.
“I have a different connection with a lot of the boys. I have a great combination with ‘Reyno’ [Adam Reynolds] and ‘Cooky’ [Damien Cook]. Whenever Cooky jumps there are different things I’ll look for.
“But with Latrell, I know for a fact he’s one of the most dangerous players in the NRL, and my job is to get him nice and clean early ball.
“He’s got a skill-set you hardly ever see. He’s a once-in-a-generation player. He can do it all – run, pass and he’s so strong and hard to handle one-on-one.
“He’s very similar to ‘Greggy’ [Greg Inglis] and I can understand why they’re spoken about in the same breath.”
While Mitchell and Walker’s exploits have seen the pair score plenty of points themselves, it has also seen left winger Alex Johnston cash in with three tries in the first three rounds.
Mitchell showed tremendous dedication to his hamstring recovery over the summer, and the extra work has seen him in fine form from the opening round.
Canterbury are wooden-spoon contenders and Souths are a genuine title powerhouse. The bookies have given the Dogs a whopping start of 20.5 points, which is a head-start never normally seen this early into a season.
Walker, however, could not recall a blowout scoreline in previous Good Friday games, and isn’t expecting a change this year against a desperate Dogs team.
Reynolds remains without a deal for next year and last week quietly moved to 209 games for Souths, one ahead of legendary halfback, Craig Coleman. Next week Reynolds will draw level with Bob McCarthy before inevitably moving past Nathan Merritt (218) into outright second with only his good mate, John Sutton, to potentially catch on 336 games.
Walker said Reynolds was “our captain, general and chief pest” who had done a fantastic job to not let his much-publicised contract saga impact on his on-field performances.
Corey Allan knows Souths better than most given he was still training at Redfern in the new year before chasing his No. 1 dream at Belmore.
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