South Sydney star Cody Walker admits feeling like he owed his teammates for missing two NRL games due to his role in a street fight last December.
And he quickly started repaying his debt by helping the Rabbitohs snap a three-game losing streak with a 20-point win over Gold Coast on Saturday.
In what was arguably the Rabbitohs’ best performance of the season, star Latrell Mitchell enjoyed his most productive outing at fullback.
Walker set up a four-pointer for Dane Gagai as the Bunnies’ star-studded spine showed glimpses of clicking into gear.
Asked if he felt like he owed his teammates for the suspension, Walker said: “One hundred per cent.
“I’ve let a lot of people down through this period. Not only my teammates; members, fans, my family.
“It was good just to get back out there with a smile on my face, run the footy, be upbeat and be Cody Walker.”
The Rabbitohs are waiting on the result of their appeal on part of the sanction for Walker’s indiscretion, which included a $20,000 fine for the club.
It is understood coach Wayne Bennett was aware of the incident when it occurred late last year but failed to inform the integrity unit before it was revealed last month.
Walker wouldn’t be drawn on Bennett’s involvement and insisted the drama was entirely of his own doing.
“I’ve dealt with it, copped my punishment, watching the boys play was one of the hardest two weeks of my life,” he said.
“I couldn’t be out there helping the boys and that’s from my own mistakes.
“I own that. It’s no one else’s fault but myself.
“It was good to get back out there, get the win and really build into our season.”
The 30-year-old said he is looking forward to further adapting to life under the new six-again rule, which has increased fatigue and open footy.
“I feel that’s when I play my best footy, when I’m over the ad-line, going at the defence with speed,” Walker said.
“I was a little bit gassed in the second half, having a long time off.
“But it’s a step in the right direction.”