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Wedding bells for Walker but Nellie chasing own league dream

When Cody Walker re-signed with the Rabbitohs in December for a further two seasons, his partner Nellie Bell all but agreed to sign on too.

The mother of two was fresh off a marriage proposal Walker says was a long time in the making.

She was also preparing to take another big step in her own rugby league journey after returning to competitive sport in 2019 for the first time in almost a decade.

Bell is a member of South Sydney's Harvey Norman Women's Premiership side which kicks off its campaign on Sunday.

She'll start on the wing in the new-look team coached by Dean Widders.

"Before she had our first son [Kian], Nellie was playing every year," Walker tells NRL.com.

"She played her first Koori Knockout as a 15-year-old against women but then had about eight years off.

"She's made me really proud over the last few months training hard. I don't think she's missed one training session over the summer and she's starting to reap the rewards now."

 
 
 
 
 
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Good little hit out today with the girls, blessed to have beautiful family who surprises you and turn up to your game! #Hill #Rose Up the bunnies 🐰

A post shared by @ _nelliebell on

Walker says rugby league in the family household is about to go to a whole new level with Bell juggling full-time work with training and family commitments alongside Walker's job at the Rabbitohs.

"Our afternoons are pretty full on as it is but I wouldn't have it any other way," Walker said.

"To have my partner playing for Souths, it's very special and shows the boys that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and be determined to reach an end goal.

"She didn't make the squad last year but that made her hungrier to keep on going and we're excited to see where it takes her."

The pair's children, Kian (eight years old) and Kade (five), watched via FaceTime last year as Walker got down on one knee to propose to Bell on a cruise ship before Christmas.

"I was more nervous about hiding the ring because the box was so big and I had these tight shorts on," Walker said.

"It was so obvious but she had no clue. I was talking to the kids, pretending to show them where we were.

"I went to the toilet to get the ring out of the box and at the same time Nellie was telling the kids to hang up and go have showers so I had to start yelling out 'no I want to say goodnight to them'.

"I came back out and grabbed my phone and gave it to the captain to hold and got down on one knee.

"I didn't say anything, she started crying and kept asking if I was serious. I couldn't find the words to talk. It was a beautiful moment that I was lucky the kids could witness. They were cheering."

 
 
 
 
 
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So this just happened, so happy you’re by my side and can’t wait to grow old with you 💍❤️

A post shared by Cody Walker (@codywalks16) on

The moment capped off a rollercoaster year for Walker, who made his State of Origin debut in May but was then dropped for the remainder of the series after the Blues lost the opening game.

Walker's future was also in the spotlight not long after the Rabbitohs were bundled out of the 2019 finals by Canberra, while his stance on the national anthem was often making headlines throughout the year.

The internal support came largely from Bell, who helped get the five-eighth back on track.

"She's supported me through the highs and lows since we got together," Walker said.

"We've been all over the country – moved to Brisbane, Melbourne, came back to Sydney, went to the Gold Coast and back again – she was right beside me and supported me through it the whole time.

"I think it's thoroughly deserved that she's treated like the queen she is. I can't wait to marry her."