Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles utility Dylan Walker has been quite impressive throughout the club’s return to the finals in 2021.
He was arguably the Sea Eagles’ best player in their big defeat against the Melbourne Storm and was once again instrumental in their win over the Sydney Roosters, which now sees Manly into their first Preliminary Final against the South Sydney Rabbitohs this Friday night.
Speculation had arisen over Walker’s future, with the 26-year-old off contract at the end of 2021.
The Wests Tigers were linked with a move for Walker, as they have been with many off-contract players, but it now seems likely he will stay put at the Sea Eagles.
Manly Head coach Des Hasler has revealed that the club is in talks with the former Rabbitoh to keep him on Sydney’s north shore during his post-game press conference after last Friday’s game.
“We’re in negotiations,” Hasler said.
“He played well tonight, playing his 100th game for the club.
“He’s adapted really well, he’s just a real footballer, Dylan. He plays a lot of positions, he plays in the middle, he gives us that real good middle service and he’s got great experience.”
Walker is primarily a centre that also has experience playing in the halves and at fullback for the Sea Eagles but recently has been used as their bench utility, with Hasler also indicating where the club sees him going forward.
“He’s been playing it [bench utility] for the last six or seven weeks… he will be playing it moving forward,” Hasler said.
“He’s got that utility value about him.”
In 2021, Walker has five tries, three assists, five line breaks, 57 tackle breaks, averaged 117 running metres per game and has made 276 tackles for an efficiency rate of 86%.
For now, Walker will likely direct his focus towards the game against South Sydney, in which the Sea Eagles will qualify for their first Grand Final since 2013 if they win.
If Manly were to make the Grand Final then they would have the opportunity to keep their streak alive of winning a premiership every decade since their first Grand Final win in 1972, an impressive feat to say the very least.