Dylan Walker believes his new role as a middle forward has injected some fresh enthusiasm into his game.
A former Dally M Centre of the Year, Walker has filled the roles of five-eighth and full-back in recent seasons but the brilliant attacking player reinvented himself in 2021.
A player with natural speed and skills and over 163 NRL games to his name, 27-year-old Walker made a big impact for Manly in his 14 appearances from 20 games off the interchange bench last season.
Walker – who has scored 32 tries in 101 games for Manly since joining the club in 2016 - admitted the transition to the middle forward role took some time to get used to.
“I wasn’t happy or stoked about it the first time,’’ Walker revealed.
“When you play football, you want to be a starter, but I knew it was my way of getting back into the team.
“I’m a team first mentality type of player. I didn’t think I was just going to jump the queue and hop back into a role somewhere when the team was winning games.
“I had to work my way through it. Coming off the bench, I was just trying to make my mark that I belong in the team.
“I started to learn and enjoy that role of coming on and playing in the middle.
To be honest, I found the love of the game through there againDylan Walker - on playing a middle forward role
“I got to do a lot of work in there, which I was probably not use to do doing in the outside backs or in the halves.
“Brad Parker and Morgan Harper were playing really well in the centres, so doing that role was the best fit for myself and the team. It just benefitted everyone.
“I really enjoyed it and loved that little role I was playing.”
Walker will this week represent the Maori All Stars team for the third consecutive year in the annual All Stars match.