True Blue and South Sydney Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker has expressed his regret at throwing an intercept pass that led to a try to Penrith winger Stephen Crichton and helped the Panthers to a 14-12 win in a thrilling NRL Grand Final at Suncorp Stadium.
The pivotal moment happened in the second half with the scores locked at 8-all and Walker sensing an opportunity on the left.
Instead of opting for a ball that would have put Dane Gagai through a hole, Walker sent a long pass in the direction of winger Alex Johnston that was plucked out of the air by Crichton who then raced away to score.
Nathan Cleary landed the conversion to give the Panthers some breathing space at 14-8.
“It’s obviously a very empty feeling coming in today and not getting the result,” Walker told Channel Nine.
“I’ve got no words to describe how I’m feeling.
“We just found it really hard to get out of our end in that first half and to our credit we only conceded one try.
“They had some pretty big moments in that second half, one of those moments being me throwing an intercept and they got it.
“That’s the game, we lost by two points. It’s hard.”
Crichton said after the match the Panthers had trained for the play by Walker.
“Having Walker there, he is one of the best in the league and eyes for the footy and space to put their players in,” Crichton said.
“We did video on that during the week and I was there at the right time.”
While the moment was difficult for Walker to come to terms with, it should not detract from the brilliant season he has had after being named Dally M Five-Eighth of the Year.
He led the NRL for both try assists (33) and linebreak assists (46) this season and was at his scheming best in the decider against the Panthers.
He scored their opening try through sheer brilliance after palming off Panthers co-captain Nathan Cleary and stepping his way past Dylan Edwards to lock the scores up at 6-all.
After throwing the intercept, he rebounded to have a hand in a try to Alex Johnston in the corner to reduce the deficit to 14-12 with five minutes to go.
Unfortunately for the Rabbitohs, halfback Adam Reynolds was unable to land the difficult conversion from the sideline.